FINAL VERDICT WILL BE GIVEN ON MAY 4TH AS #PIGTRIAL CONCLUDES

 

The world eagerly anticipate the final court hearing where Canadian activist may face a prison sentence for feeding water to dehydrated pigs

On Thursday 4th May, a case that has gained global media attention and caused worldwide debate for almost two years will finally draw to a close as Anita Krajnc, Co-Founder of Toronto Pig Save, will have her final court hearing in Burlington, Canada.

The trial will begin at 9am at the Burlington Court House, with an all-day vigil starting at 7am at Fearmans ‘Pork’ inc. Several groups will also be holding solidarity vigils worldwide to show unity with the message that compassion is not a crime.

Ms Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief in June 2015 after feeding water to dehydrated pigs in a transportation truck, bound for slaughter. Please see ‘The Crime: Compassion’ video of the incident that led to the charges here. She faces a potential six month prison sentence, and $5,000 fine. At the most recent trial on March 9th, Judge Harris said he needed more time to issue the verdict.

The case has attracted global media coverage, and the defence put together by Ms Krajnc’s lawyers James Silver and Gary Grill, both vegan, has put the animal agriculture industry on trial.

The defence shows people that pigs are persons, not property and that Ms Krajnc’s actions were adhering to ‘The Golden Rule’ – treat others as you wish to be treated.
‘Anita is acting in the public good,’ Mr Grill told a packed courtroom. ‘Though pigs are not recognized as persons under law, they have the same capacity to suffer as humans. It is clear that the public has an interest in fostering the good actions of others.’

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Virtual reality footage showing typical treatment of pigs in factory farms has also been used together with evidence showing how sentient and self-aware pigs are from leading scientists.

‘Pigs have individual personalities. They’re also one of the few species that can recognise themselves in a mirror. They have self-awareness, self-agency and have a sense of themselves within the social community. Each one is a unique individual.’ said Lori Marino, a Neuroscientist who testified at the Pig Trial on November 1st 2016.

Toronto Pig Save started in 2011 and began a wider network known as The Save Movement in which groups from around the world join together to bear witness to animals arriving in transportation trucks at slaughterhouses. There are now more than 130 groups worldwide, including in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

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The public are encouraged to show support via social media by using the hashtags #pigtrial and #compassionisnotacrime. You can also pledge your support by joining the #pigtrial Thunderclap here.

The Save Movement are aiming for #pigtrial and #compassionisnotacrime to be trending worldwide, sharing the story of the trial as widely as possible. Please join us to spread the message!

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Second Chance Animal Rescue – Giving Animals the Second Chance they Deserve

A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend the day at Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) in Crockenhill, Kent, England. Hanging out with rescued farm animals is probably my favourite thing to do, especially a few days after attending a save vigil (check out my experience at Essex Pig Save here). Watching happy farm animals live out the rest of their days in peace and freedom is an incredible feeling, it reminds us of just what they are capable of. Very different to the lives most of them are forced to endure on factory farms.

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SCAR has been running since 2011, and officially became a charity in January 2016. John Ranger is the founder of SCAR, and I also got to meet Daisy who is a Trustee. They look after around 350-400 animals – some (e.g. reptiles) do not live on site but with expert volunteers. They rehome cats, small animals (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs), hens, and ponies, only if the home is a forever home where they will live a better life than they would have here at SCAR.

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Cows have unimaginably tough lives living on factory farms (click here for more information). But the cows living at SCAR seemed so content. Thriving in their well-deserved freedom, I got to spend a lot of time with Arnold and co.

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You know something really weird? I’d never actually seen a pig in real life until my first visit to Hillside Animal Sanctuary (check out my blog on Your Daily Vegan about this here). I’d openly say that pigs were my favourite animal, but I’d never actually seen one! This is because, well, when would you? The vast majority of pigs will be living on factory farms, hidden away. Since attending save vigils, I now see pigs every couple of weeks, but not in the circumstances I would ever wish to see them. At SCAR, I got to meet a whole bunch of happy pigs – they were all curious, unique individuals…and also hilarious!

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Muddy pig snouts…is there anything better?

Surprised to see an emu happily hanging out with the pigs, I learned that SCAR really do offer a home to any animal who needs one. Mumu the emu’s story began when somebody bought a fertile emu egg online, hatched it out and raised the emu with their 30 chickens in a chicken coop. When Mumu got too large (which didn’t take long!) they got in touch with SCAR, who gave him a home where he seems to get on pretty well with all the other residents, considering, you know…he’s an emu!

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I also got to meet some beautiful racoon dogs who were cuddled up and keeping each other warm. These animal are often used for their fur, and they seemed to frighten very easily. I can’t imagine how terrified similar animals must feel living in over-cramped fur farms.

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With this amount of animals, you have to wonder, how do they do it? Well…SCAR don’t officially open to the public but have periodic volunteering events. As a charity, they rely on donations to cover the costs (find out how you can donate below). They also hold fundraisers, such as their upcoming ‘The Retro Years’ SCAR fundraiser on 24th February, find out more details for this here.

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Cows get cold too you know!

Spending time with rescued animals must definitely be good for the soul. I admire the incredible work that SCAR and other sanctuaries are doing. Each of the animals here are ambassadors for others of their kind – they show us what all animals are capable of, happily thriving in a safe and loving environment. Thank you for all your hard work, SCAR! Check out the details of how to support this amazing sanctuary below.

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Support Second Chance Animal Rescue!

Website (option to donate via Paypal).

Facebook (‘like’ for information about the latest volunteering opportunities).

Instagram: @secondchance_animalrescue (‘follow’ for insanely adorable animal photos!).

Travel: Best Vegan Food Spots in Glasgow, Scotland

Happy new year everybody! I hope you all had a great Christmas break. I find the new year the perfect time to get focused and set out goals to achieve for the next twelve months. In my previous blog, I picked out some of my highlights from 2016 (view here), but unfortunately the world of animal rights still has a long way to come, so I plan to achieve much more in 2017!

I spent my New Year’s in Glasgow with one of my best friends and photographer Lottie, check out her awesome photography website here. It’s no wonder she decided to move to Scotland, it really does have spectacular views. We drove to Glen Coe and were greeted by mountains, snow, and plenty of sheep! If you’re staying in Glasgow, Glen Coe is about a two hour drive, and perfect for a day out escaping the city and appreciating the natural world.

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Now…on to the food! To be honest, Scotland really did surprise me. An area known for traditional dishes such as haggis (which you can find the vegan version of at the restaurants I’m about to talk about), I didn’t hold out much hope for vegan food. I was so, so wrong. Not only is the vegan scene thriving in Glasgow with an aray of different vegan pubs and restaurants, these just happen to be the coolest places in town too. My first stop was The Flying Duck which I had heard about prior to visiting, this was just next to the city centre, so easy to find for yummy vegan goodness.

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I absolutely loved everything about this venue; the artwork, the food, the music, the vibe. It reminded me a little of my favourite vegan pub back home in Essex called The Railway Hotel (check out my write up of Mother’s Day at The Railway here). Extra points for the amusing menu with a section named ‘Dawgs’.

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We ordered burgers and mac ‘n’ cheese, which was a little optimistic but its easy to get carried away with vegan food. Everything was delicious. It’s definitely worth checking out The Flying Duck website to see which bands are playing too.

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I also visited Stereo which was another vegan pub/restaurant/gig venue, with a similar vibe to The Flying Duck. I’d heard good things about Stereo, and it’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed. I think this photograph says it all.

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So good! A special mention goes to the battered cauliflower which was amazing. I also had a hot dog with pretty much everything, and brownie for desert. Everything on the menu looked great! After visiting both places, I was reminded of just how relaxing it is going to a restaurant that is 100% vegan. No worrying about specifically ordering soya milk, or making sure the margarine on the bread is plant-based…Glasgow has you covered with these 100% vegan food spots!

I had also planned to visit Mono which I have heard great things about, however this was closed on New Year’s Day (my last day)… so I guess I’m just going to have to make another trip to Glasgow soon! It definitely looks worth checking out, and all these restaurants are within walking distance from Glasgow city centre…bonus!

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So if you’re travelling to Glasgow for whatever reason, you’re pretty much sorted for vegan food. Are there any other hidden gems in Glasgow I haven’t mentioned? I just hope the rest of Scotland is this vegan-friendly!

2016 – Animal Activism Year in Review

In the world of animal rights, 2016 has definitely seen some positive changes worldwide. More people are vegan than ever before, and also many vegans have turned to activism to use their voices for animals. It has been my first full year of animal activism, and taking action for animals has became a huge part of my life. Here are some of my proudest achievements from 2016…

Essex Pig Save’s First Vigil

Read about it here.

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This was my first ever save vigil of any kind, and it was in my home county! I have always been a huge supporter of Toronto Pig Save, and was so happy that the Save Movement was expanding to the UK. This was the first of many vigils which went on to occur every month, with a growing team of activists. Our numbers have pretty much doubled since this very first vigil. We were able to bear witness to pigs entering Cheale Meats in Brentwood, Essex, and offer them comfort in any way we could. The next Essex Pig Save vigil will be held on 16th January 2017 – check out the Essex Pig Save Facebook page here for more information.

I Stand with Anita

Read about it here and here.

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This year I got to spend some time with Anita Krajnc and the rest of Toronto Pig Save as I attended a series of vigils in Canada. I also got to cover Anita’s court case, where she was put on trial for feeding water to a pig dying of dehydration. People around the world were horrified that Anita had been charged for simply an act of kindness. The trial talked about a lot more than this one incident, and ended up putting animal agriculture as a whole on trial. The case will be continuing in March 2017. Working with Anita has been a great honour this year, and I look forward to doing a lot more in 2017 to show the world that compassion is not a crime.

Japan – The World is Watching You

Read about it here.

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At the start of this year I took part in the London Against Taiji Dolphin Massacre March. We marched through the streets of London to the Japanese Embassy, using our voices to stand against this barbaric tradition that happens every year in Taiji. Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove have meant a huge fall in profit for companies such as Seaworld. It’s so important that people know that every time they buy a ticket to a marine park that uses animals for entertainment, or partake in swim with dolphin programmes, they are actively paying for this yearly dolphin slaughter. The workers seek out the ‘Flipper’-like dolphins that have become so popular, while the rest are trapped in the cove to be slaughtered the following morning, and sold as dolphin meat. Many people in Japan don’t even know this is happening. Please don’t be part of it. Boycott Seaworld, marine parks and all swim with dolphin programmes.

Fearman’s ‘Pork’ Show No Mercy

Read about it here.

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Not long after returning from Canada myself, I watched this heartbreaking event live, as it happened, outside Fearman’s ‘Pork’, where I had protested earlier this year. Although the events of that day were completely incomprehensible, the stories of the pigs who died will never be forgotten. The incident gained worldwide media coverage, and people began to question whether eating meat can ever really be humane. A special thanks to all the activists who were at Fearman’s that day, and later organised a candle-lit memorial for all those who suffered such cruelty, all because of human greed.

Vegfest London 2016

Read about it here and on The Vegfest Express.

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In the build up to this year’s Vegfest London, I interviewed some of the speakers appearing at the Vegan Activists Summit – including Kate Strong, Rebecca Fox and Marta Zaraska. I’m so pleased that Vegfest is just getting bigger and better every year. I thought the speakers this year were particularly inspirational, and it was great to listen to such heroes as David Smith MBE talk about how a plant-based diet has changed their lives.

Ink Activism

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This year I also got my first ever tattoos which have been great conversation starters, and have also enabled me to visit some of the best vegan tattoo studios! My first was the animal liberation symbol, which I had done at Fifth Dimension in London. My second was the word ‘compassion’ which I had done at James Spooner’s Monocle Tattoo studio in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I do have the tattoo bug now and have heard of some other great vegan tattoo studios which I plan to check out in 2017!

Protesting with Emily from Bite Size Vegan

Read about it here.

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I attended an Essex Pig Save vigil with popular American YouTuber and blogger – Emily from Bite Size Vegan this summer. This was a very hard day as we said goodbye to truck-loads of pigs entering Cheale Meats to be slaughtered. But later on, I went to London to watch Emily’s speech, and my dedication and hope for animals was truly restored. Emily talked about the importance of bearing witness, and not turning away from what is happening to animals, but instead doing all we can to change it. I’m a huge fan of all the work Emily is doing.

Fiona Oakes – For The Animals

Read about it here.

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Also at the start of this year, I got to meet champion marathon runner and all round superhero for animals – Fiona Oakes, along with all the animals at Tower Hill Sanctuary. It was great to hear Fiona’s story and how she has managed to achieve so much for animals. Tower Hill looks after over 400 rescued animals, which is no easy task! She also uses her extreme marathon running (she has run a marathon on every continent, and the North Pole) to promote the vegan lifestyle… destroying the stereotypical view of vegans as ‘weak’.

Other mentionable animal activism achievements this year include attending the first East London Chicken Save vigil, meeting Renee and all the friendly folk at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Texas, and volunteering at Piebird Farm Sanctuary in Canada. Overall, I’m really pleased with what I have accomplished this year, the world is definitely beginning to wake up to the realities that so many animals are forced to endure at the hands of humans. The Save Movement has grown rapidly in 2016, there are now 24 groups in the UK alone! It seems that ignorance is no longer bliss. I am looking forward to achieving much more for animals in 2017.

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Essex Pig Save Vigil – Bearing Witness to Pigs – 7/11/16

Yesterday we had another vigil at Cheale Meats in Essex, to say goodbye to some beautiful pigs arriving for slaughter.

It’s always a surreal feeling, that the vigil is considered a success if we are able to see some trucks of pigs. Obviously we don’t want the trucks to be there at all, and in an ideal world they wouldn’t be, but while intelligent animals are still needlessly being killed for food, it is our aim to comfort as many as possible.

So yesterday we managed to see a few trucks, most of which had their shutters up so it was difficult to see the animals inside. But later on, we were able to get a closer look. The pigs were scared, cramped and almost looking to us for some kind of explanation. All we could do was comfort them in any way possible, and document their important journey.

The Save Movement now has over 20 groups in the UK that all have regular vigils, with new groups starting all the time. Slaughterhouses that have been hidden for so long are being exposed, and people are beginning to make the connection, and realise that they don’t want to be paying for these cruel practices. There is a great injustice going on every day, every hour, every minute. Most people would claim to be animal lovers, but this means loving all animals, not just those we share our homes with. I found the following words from Essex Pig Save, which I think beautifully sum up what The Save Movement is doing, so I will leave you with this.

Hide me in the shadows, kill me in the darkness,

and all will be forgotten…

But shine a light upon my death, and I will be everywhere,

and justice will be my name.

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Take Action!

Essex Pig Save

Toronto Pig Save

The Save Movement

Fearmans ‘Pork’ Show No Mercy for Pigs – Tragedy in Canada

Yesterday in Burlington, Canada, a terrible tragedy occurred when a truck transporting pigs to slaughter at Fearmans ‘Pork’ overturned. What happened next has left people around the world completely heartbroken.

Activists from Toronto Pig Save rushed to the scene where the truck was, just outside Fearmans slaughterhouse. From live video streams on social media, the employees of the slaughterhouse can be seen trying to cover up what was happening with sheets of cardboard. But it was clear to see that there were dead and injured pigs from this completely traumatising event. Fearmans ‘Pork’ slaughters 10,000 pigs every single day, so you would think they would spare the lives of these innocent victims, right?

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Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. Fearmans employees actually rounded up the survivors of the attack and took them into the slaughterhouse, where they would be killed in a gas chamber. In the Fearmans car park, the employees can be seen using the sheets of cardboard to herd the pigs into the slaughterhouse…you can’t make this stuff up! For the survivors, this would have been the first time in their lives that they felt the sunshine on their backs or the grass on their feet. Having survived such a traumatising accident where some of their friends had died, the innocent animals seemed to have no idea of the hellhole they were about to enter.

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There were also pigs that were unable to walk and collapsed outside, near the truck. Along with the activists, Steve Jenkins, father of Esther the Wonder Pig, was present and was eager to take the pigs to his sanctuary. These pigs that can no longer walk are what the industry call ‘downed’ animals, and no profit can be made from them by selling their bodies as meat. So what is it to them if a sanctuary takes a couple of downed animals that would be no use to them anyway? Activists begged for the slaughterhouse to show mercy to these poor pigs, but Fearmans showed absolutely none and killed them on the spot. The photograph below shows one pig comforting his downed companion, before being marched to his own death.

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Anita Krajnc, Co-Founder of Toronto Pig Save, who is currently on trial for ‘criminal mischief’ after feeding water to a dehydrated pig (read all about it here) was arrested at the scene. Understandably, emotions were running high and people were trying to document this completely surreal and heartbreaking event. Police dragged Anita from the scene and into a police car. After her release, she organised an all-night vigil at Fearmans, to pay respect to the animals who were involved in this terrible tragedy, and to the animals that continue to suffer unbearable cruelty every single day, all for human greed.

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Having visited this exact location in the summer where I got to bear witness to pigs heading for slaughter, I found watching this live, as it happened, completely unfathomable. And to think that the bodies of these poor souls are now on their way to Canada supermarkets to be sold and eaten. I urge you to watch the videos on Toronto Pig Save’s Facebook Page and consider this – is this the sort of industry you want to support? Animals are being killed for food every second of the day, but establishments such as Fearmans ‘Pork’ do all they can to keep it hidden. With incidents such as this, they can’t hide what they’re doing.

Now you know the truth – what will you do about it?

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Get Informed:

Toronto Pig Save Facebook Page

Toronto Sun coverage

CTV News coverage

CBC coverage

Global News coverage

Essex Pig Save First Vigil – 6th June 2016

Last year, I wrote about a save movement called Toronto Pig Save, an organisation who bear witness to pigs on their way to slaughter. I interviewed popular American blogger Bite Size Vegan about her thoughts on attending her first vigil with Toronto Pig Save, and thought about how the videos and images captured by people attending the vigils had affected me, and hopefully had the power to make people question their eating habits. So I was thrilled when I heard the movement was expanding to England, first with Manchester Pig Save and then to my home county, with the first Essex Pig Save vigil outside Cheale Meats slaughterhouse in Brentwood, yesterday.

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Waiting for the arrival of innocent pigs being taken to slaughter.

We arrived at around 8am and as we approached the slaughterhouse, it was clear that our arrival was expected. There were around ten policemen and the owner of Cheale Meats standing outside the front. The police were quite co-operative and we explained that this was a peaceful protest. Straight away there was this incredibly eerie feeling about the area. As cars drove by, we wondered if people even knew what was happening so close to them. The sound of birds singing in the sky was drowned out by the sound of pigs screaming at regular intervals. After about an hour, the first truck arrived, transporting terrified pigs to their final destination.

See video of the first transport truck here.

 

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Why love one but eat the other?

Unfortunately this truck didn’t stop so we were unable to get a good look at the pigs or comfort them at all. We were told this would be the only transport truck for the day, but for a slaughterhouse that kills 6000 pigs a week, this seemed a little hard to believe. Sure enough, about an hour and a half later, a second truck arrived. This one stopped for a few seconds, and we were able to see the faces of the terrified pigs inside.

See video of the second transport truck here.

 

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The final journey.

As you can see, the pigs were covered in dirt and cuts. The videos I’ve seen before of pigs being transported to slaughter show a mix of emotions from the pigs. Some squealing in terror, some aggressive to other pigs cramped together with no room to move, but these pigs seemed almost like they had accepted their fate – they knew what was about to happen to them.

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Did your food have a face?

I felt like, as humans, we have let these animals down. They are the victims of an incredibly cruel, violent and completely unnecessary industry, and at that point in time, there was nothing we could do for them except try and show them that they are loved, and we are sorry.

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Ignorance isn’t always bliss.

I’m lucky that I normally write about animal sanctuaries and animals that are living happy lives, but today I was faced with the brutal reality for most farm animals. The whole experience was emotionally draining, but I left feeling more dedicated to animal rights than ever before. The animals we bore witness to today are not with us any more, but we can change the future for animals just like them. Leaving animals off your plate and going vegan is the best thing you can do for animals. We can evolve, and leave this out-dated, cruel and planet-destroying way of living behind us. Change starts on your plate. 

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Please support this important pig save movement and be the voice these animals so desperately need!

Essex Pig Save

Manchester Pig Save

Toronto Pig Save