Hey all! How’s everyone’s Friday going?
Today I’m reallyyy excited to talk about a favorite animal rights organization of mine, Toronto Pig Save. Have you guys heard of them before?
I first heard of Toronto Pig Save when I was at last year’s Animal Rights National Conference. I went to see Anita Krajnc speak because I knew she had co-founded TPS, and I knew that they did intense work. Out of everyone that I saw speak at the conference, I am the most glad that I got to see her speak. I was blown away by everything that she said.
She started by introducing Toronto Pig Save, which is an organization that “exists to erect glass walls at area slaughterhouses, encourage plant-based vegan living, and bear witness to the pigs during vigils.” The organization started in 2010 because of what she would see when she walked her dog, Mr. Bean, every morning. “As I walked with Mr. Bean each morning on Lake Shore we’d see 8 or 9 transport trucks carrying sad and frightened pigs to a nearby downtown slaughterhouse called Quality Meat Packers (QMP). In July 2011, we committed to holding a minimum of three vigils each week to bear witness of pigs and other farmed animals transported to Toronto area slaughterhouses.”
During these vigils, TPS holds signs for passers-by to see, and feeds water to the pigs when the transport truck stops at red lights. They never yell or berate the drivers, and they never prevent them from doing their jobs. I think the main thing that is so powerful about Toronto Pig Save is that they are a love-based organization, meaning that they practice positive actions and not negative ones. One thing that makes them such an influential organization is the footage they get during these vigils. Their Instagram constantly has new footage up of the most recent vigil, and while the footage is never gory, it is always very hard to watch. I think it is really powerful when an image that does not contain bloody images for shock value can still be SO devastating to see.
I have never felt super comfortable arguing with someone about why eating meat is wrong, even though in my eyes it’s way worse than just “wrong.” If you want to educate someone on a subject, we all know that berating them is not the way to do it. One thing that I will always remember about Anita’s presentation is her opinion on respecting those who eat meat. “I think sometimes, we forget to treat humans with the same respect that we want the animals to receive.” I really really love that she has this opinion, because it makes Toronto Pig Save all the more likeable and reputable for both vegans and non-vegans. It just makes TPS seem all the less threatening, and all the more welcoming.
If there were to be a character trait that I could change about myself, I would make myself less sensitive. I am SO sensitive to the point where I can tear up just at the thought of homeless animals who don’t have anyone to love them. (I also can’t handle seeing an old person eat dinner alone at a restaurant, any person drop their food and look sad about it, and any movie with talking animals. But who can handle these things?!) That being said, I have NO clue how Toronto Pig Save does what they do. While it is on my bucket list to go to one of their vigils, I am 110% positive that I would sob at the first sight of the transport truck. Those who attend the vigils see some heavy stuff. The pigs are always so dehydrated that they are suffering from heat stress and foaming at the mouth. It takes some AMAZING human beings to be able to do tri-weekly vigils and feed these pigs water, knowing that there is nothing they can do for them and that they are about to die.
During her presentation, Anita mentioned that her and her co-volunteers sometimes have lunch with the workers from the slaughter house that they hold vigils outside of. She said she thinks that they have a lot of guilt about working at a slaughter house (killing animals everyday and all, LOL!) and want to talk about it with someone who will listen. I thought this was SO GREAT of Anita and her team to do, because it shows how love-based Toronto Pig Save really is.
Anita even mentioned how she hopes to start a job rehabilitation program for slaughter house workers to get them new jobs, because their current job is usually the only one that they can get. One thing that I never think about is the conditions of the slaughter house workers. They can easily be painted as the enemy because they are the ones murdering animals, but usually they hate the job as well, they just sadly can’t get another.
Here is a quick video of what a Toronto Pig Save vigil looks like. While there are no graphic images, I find clips like this to be 100 times more powerful because of the looks in these pig’s eyes. If we can’t bear to see these animals simply transported from farm to slaughter house, then we shouldn’t be tolerating any of it to begin with, because the transport is the least of the abuse.
Seeing Anita speak and learning about Toronto Pig save really changed the animal rights activist in me. I can’t even really put to words how it did so, but it changed me. Seeing her speak made me realize that I don’t just want to dedicate my life to helping animals by spreading veganism, I need to dedicate my life to helping animals.
Is there an organization that had this same type of affect on you? Have any of you ever been to a TPS vigil, or any other type of bearing witness vigil? I would love to hear about it!!
Have a great night you lovely folks!