It’s that time of year again and, for those who haven’t read it before, here begins our Christmas Story: Big Blue Sky. I will share a little of it every day this week, but if you want to read it all at once, here it is 😀
Story continues tomorrow ❤
Violet’s Vegan Comics – creating funny, enlightening and sometimes action-packed vegan children’s books for readers of all ages since 2012.
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.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has been working for years to end the use of animals in “terminal” training exercises at veterinary schools—in which students perform procedures on otherwise healthy animals, who are then killed. Today they are happy to report that one of the nation’s highest-ranked vet schools, Colorado State University, has officially ended the use of terminal labs!
The PCRM first became involved in this issue in February 2020, when a CSU vet student contacted them. The student was shocked to learn that the curriculum included courses in which students would perform invasive surgical procedures on sheep, pigs, and horses. At the end of the training exercises, the animals were killed.
After receiving documents from CSU through the state’s open records law, the PCRM reached out to the dean of the veterinary school and were happy to hear that they were “also committed to the goal of eliminating terminal procedures.”
Over the last two years, the PCRM have worked closely with CSU leaders, alumni, students, and faculty at other veterinary schools to provide useful information and support as the university has made this transition. CSU leaders deserve immense credit for this change: To replace terminal labs, they have increased student exposure to surgical skills that are foundational to veterinary medicine, provided greater opportunities for repetition and practice, and expanded student access to real-world surgical experiences involving animals in need of procedures. This will make CSU graduates not only more compassionate but also more skilled.
CSU’s decision follows the elimination of terminal dog labs by Tuskegee University and Auburn University in 2021, which came about following work by the Physicians Committee. We hope this trend will send a clear message to vet schools elsewhere that terminal training labs can and should be replaced.
The Physicians’ Committee give special thanks to their Remembering Rodney Society members for this victory. Like the countless dogs, cats, pigs, and other animals used in terminal labs, Rodney was a sweet and loving dog who suffered through multiple painful veterinary training procedures before being killed. Members of the Remembering Rodney Society keep his spirit alive by providing the monthly support that allows the Physicians Committee to save animals day after day. You can help them save the “Rodneys” who still suffer in research, testing, and training programs by joining the society today.
Want to know more? Read about Hugo’s lucky escape from a laboratory breeding facility in Let the dogs out, a graphic novel (with a happy ending) on our stories for teens and up page.
Violet’s Vegan Comics creating funny, enlightening and sometimes action-packed vegan children’s books for readers of all ages, since 2012.
Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era is an academic text book filled with examples of animal resistance. These individuals’ stories will profoundly touch the reader’s heart and prove that the billions of people* kept by mainstream society as slaves, and murdered when they are no longer useful, are as desperate to escape their bonds as any of us would be in their situation.
* I define the word people as anyone with an individual personality.
This is a fantastic book, though hard to read at times. It is an invaluable resource for writing letters which demand change to the government bodies and animal welfare establishment who remain stubbornly, and criminally, resistant to it.
The stories shared in this book of individuals who escaped their cages and, in some cases, went back later and risked their lives to release others, are stories that will be with me forever. I see them in the eyes of the adolescent calves in the field, torn from their mothers and looking for comfort. I see them in the eyes of the sheep, steadfastly guarding her lamb, insisting that I do not approach. And every time I see a film with Clint Eastwood in, I remember Buddha, the orangutan.
“When the orangutan, who had once co-starred with Clint Eastwood, stopped working on
a Hollywood set in 1980, he was repeatedly clubbed by his trainer. The crew witnessed Buddha
being beaten with a hard cane, yet he was still forced onto the set and expected to perform. One
day, when Buddha helped himself to some doughnuts on set, his trainer beat him to death with
an axe handle. These last moments were in his cage. The film left Buddha out of the credits.
Buddha deserved better than these atrocities during his life and his final moments.”
Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era by Sarat Colling, page 68
This book demonstrates why most humans are so blind to the institutionalised exploitation and extreme cruelty to other animals. Animal exploitation industries not only hide their violence, but also somehow manage to cash in on their hypnotised customers’ affection for the ones who get away.
“When a pig’s escape from a slaughterhouse made headlines in the city of Red Deer, Alberta, his infamy was not only used to promote tourism, but also to symbolize the “importance” of animal agriculture in the city. In the summer of 1990, at the time known only by his captors as “KH27,” Francis made his exit from the C/A Meats slaughterhouse. As Francis was being forced towards the kill floor, he turned and fled. He jumped a fence nearly four feet high, snuck through the processing area, and pushed through the back door. He then took off running towards the parklands of Red Deer River Valley.
“For several months, Francis lived alone in the forest, sheltering in dens and foraging for grass. He was also known to emerge from the forest to rummage through neighborhood garbage cans. As a descendant of the European wild boar, he had the ability to thrive in the wild. Once free, his resourceful nature shone through. Like his ancestors, who could live in harmony with nature for twenty years, Francis possessed the ability to reason, sense danger, understand his environment, adapt to change, and travel long distances when necessary. When the media caught on to his escape in late October, after he was regularly sighted in park areas and bike trails, Francis became a household name.
“Citing concern about Francis’s ability to survive the cold weather, the slaughterhouse sent a hunter to track him. Yet, Francis was cunning; he eluded capture by never returning to the den that the farmer had discovered. One time the man came close, but Francis took off again, despite having been hit with a tranquilizer dart. On November 29, the hunter located Francis again and shot him with three tranquilizer darts. Unfortunately, one of them injured his bowel. Francis died two days later. C/A Meats, which slaughters countless pigs, had likely been more concerned about liability due to potential injury to humans (or property) than Francis’s ability to survive in the cold.
“After his death, Francis was memorialized as one of the seven bronze statues in the Red Deer Downtown Business Association’s Ghosts project, which pays homage to individuals, actions, and events that have shaped Red Deer. The sad irony of this story is that, after his death, the city used Francis’s bid for freedom to promote tourism and animal agribusiness. Relying on cognitive dissonance, the Downtown Business Association stated in the write-up about the statue: ‘Francis reminds us that hog production and processing are important parts of the Red Deer economy.’ Thus, the statue was a Potemkin gesture: it performed a deceptive function as propaganda that capitalized on the citizens’ love for animals and the escaped pig, while trying to profit from Francis’s notoriety. Neglecting the suffering of pigs killed for their flesh, the industry that caused and profited from Francis’s misery appropriated his struggle.”
Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era, by Sarat Colling, page 95-97
This book is not cheap. Sadly at the moment it’s only available in hardback at £47.24, although there is a Kindle version available for £26.53, but I strongly recommend you ask your local library to buy a copy. Everybody should read this book. Everybody needs to understand the individuals whose stories are shared here so that, in the future, they will understand the billions of animals who were born to fill their plates, and know how abhorrent it is that this horrific trade is allowed to continue in our global capitalist system.
Will you continue to congratulate the emperor on his magnificent garments, or will you join us and tell him he’s naked?