I was so moved by a post I read this week that I wanted to share it with you. Since there was no reblog button I am copying and pasting, so please go over to Marie’s site to LIKE and comment on the original post, it’s such a … what word am I looking for? I am lost for words. All I will say is that I’m so grateful to Marie for sharing her experience and lighting a fire under me. The following are all Marie’s words (and photos):
On Tuesday last week, in the pouring rain, I headed to Manchester for a peaceful vigil outside a slaughterhouse. I have never been to one before, and honestly, I never believed it would be something I could manage. But recently I’ve felt ready to step forwards much more with my animal activism.
The slaughterhouse is in Ashton-under-Lyne and activists there have been peacefully protesting for years. Animal Saves are done in cities and towns all over the world. After some time the activists here have developed a good relationship with the security guard who allows the trucks to stop for a few minutes before going in.
I pulled up right in front of the group to ask for directions of where best to park and saw a slaughter truck at the gate. I had been feeling strong but immediately felt myself break. After I parked up I walked to meet the small group. The last slaughter truck had gone in. Annoyed at myself I didn’t even manage a hello before becoming upset. Thankfully this didn’t seem unusual behaviour and everyone welcomed me with open arms.
Another slaughter truck pulled in. The driver stopped at the gate. The activists moved forwards to the truck. Many had bought stools to stand on as the open section is quite high. Someone kindly offered me theirs. I stood on it and looked into the truck. It was crammed with young pigs. The heat and the smell was intense – I know they could have been in that truck for hours without food or water. They were very quiet and barely moved. I didn’t want to look in their eyes but I made myself. I could only see fear and it was beyond intolerable to see an animal that frightened. The driver beeped his horn. We all stepped back. The truck drove into the slaughterhouse. Just before we did I managed to stroke one of their ears with one finger peeking through the bars and tell them it would all be over soon.
This process repeated itself I think 7 more times in the 2 hours I was there. I can’t say it got any easier. The other activists told me about themselves, everyone introduced themselves to me, someone bought a bunch of vegan snacks. I politely nibbled mine, I couldn’t stomach it. I was struck by their friendliness though. Occasionally while you were chatting you could hear screaming in the background. I declined to go closer to the area where the animals are killed to be a witness to the screaming. But maybe I will be ready for that another time.
It may seem like quite a pointless thing to be doing for some of you reading. As of course you can’t stop what is happening to those animals you lock eyes with. You just have to step back when the driver beeps his horn and let the animals go in. The answer to why is to simply bear witness to an injustice, to document it and to share it. With the hope that this may help more and more people connect with farmed animals and consider to not be a part of their exploitation. This blog post explains what you are trying to achieve way better than I am as well as providing self care to activists and is well worth a read – https://www.dominionmovement.com/self-care
For myself – although I know what happens to animals in animal agriculture and am horrified by that – seeing part of the process was another level of knowledge. It was obviously extremely tragic and upsetting. But I know now that I can be extremely upset and act at the same time. I feel like the least I can do is look into their eyes and acknowledge and witness what is being done to them, even if I can’t stop it.
I am still processing that day, thinking about the pigs I met, the ears I stroked and the backs I rubbed. I hope they’re at peace now. I’m grateful for the kindness of the other activists, how gladly they welcomed me. Many cars beeped their horns and waved as they drove by seeing the signs – it feels like all hope is not lost.Marie Canning – Manchester Pig Save 15.11.22