Tag Archives: Animal Activists

“What Difference Does It Make?”

The title of this blog is in quotes because those are the words that someone yelled at us last week at a vigil in front of Maple Leaf Foods, a chicken slaughterhouse here in Toronto. Actually, his precise words were, What FUCKING difference does it make? but I decided to edit that part out since it doesn’t make for as strong a title. The man who yelled at us was an employee and it was after two truckloads of chickens – about 7,000 birds per truck – had been driven onto the property and were being held in an area prior to slaughter.

This is only the second vigil with Toronto Pig Save that I’ve been to.  The first was in 2015 when I joined in one held at Maple Leaf Foods, St. Helen’s Meat Packers and Ryding Regency Meat Packers, all three which are located very close-by to one another (both St. Helen’s and Ryding slaughter cows, calves and lambs, Maple Leaf slaughters birds).  Although nothing can ever prepare you completely, I was more mentally ready this past week and had at least some idea of what I was going to see.  And smell.  Even just standing outside of a slaughterhouse on a chilly night in November, the smell of blood and feces and raw flesh hangs in the air. It’s an unmistakable stench and all the Styrofoam, refrigeration and plastic wrap in the world could never make me forget it.  Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Willful Ignorance is the Real Crime

Yikes – it’s been nearly three months since I’ve written a blog post. There’s been no good reason for it, although I did start a new job two weeks ago so my schedule has changed quite a bit.  Mainly my lack of writing has been a combination of procrastination and feeling overwhelmed. One thing I am never far from as a vegan is the awareness of animal suffering. It’s everywhere – in ads, in movies, in conversation, and yet their suffering is made invisible through euphemisms (e.g., “pork” and “beef”) or conveniently ignoring animals as the original victim despite humans often claiming to know how it feels to suffer as they do (e.g., “we were treated like animals”).  Sometimes I go through bouts of not being able to process any of it at all, feeling completely incapacitated by the sheer scale of the issues surrounding animals and their current place of value and low priority in our world. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

About Peta

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, as they are more commonly known (pronounced “pee-ta”, just like pita pocket) are one of those organizations that people tend to have very strong feelings about.  They are arguably the most famous animal rights organization in the world and their name is vilified almost as often as it is revered.

Before I was a vegan, I didn’t hate PETA or anything but like so many members of the public, I had only one impression of them: they were “those crazy animal activist people”.  I only knew them by some of their more shocking campaigns and by news footage of their protests, footage which usually showed them being dragged away by police after protesting outside of a retail store for one reason or another. Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Understandable Outrage, Undeniable Hypocrisy

So, Cecil the lion is now a household name, right?

For those of you who may not be aware, last week a story broke about Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, who went to Zimbabwe in June of this year for some recreational hunting of big game animals and killed a lion named Cecil. Cecil was a 13-year-old lion living on a conservation reserve and was being studied by scientists from Oxford University. According to the news story, Dr. Palmer paid a professional Zimbabwe hunter, Theo Bronkhorst, $50,000 to help him kill a lion with a bow and arrow.

Long story short, the two men lured Cecil out of the national park and shot him with a cross-bow. Cecil ran and hid in the bush and the men tracked him for forty hours. They eventually shot him, beheaded him and skinned him (and took a photo, as you do).  It was only when the hunters found the tracking collar on Cecil that shit hit the fan and the general public began to react en masse as the story spread.  Theo Bronkhorst is facing charges of failing to prevent an unlawful hunt and Dr. Palmer and his wife have gone into hiding as people have vandalized their home, picketed outside his dental office and some even left several pickled pigs’ feet on the driveway of one of his homes, an illogical message at best but also an example of the hierarchy we place animals in: lions are the white and affluent of the animal kingdom, pigs are the non-Caucasian and marginalized.  Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

What Makes a Murderer?

Back in January of this year, Julian and I went to see a screening of the documentary, Cowspiracy.  The screening was held primarily to raise money for a group called, “The Slaughterhouse 7”, a group of activists who were arrested on November 6, 2014 after holding a protest at St. Helen’s Meat Packers here in Toronto where 600 cows are slaughtered every day.  Six of the group had the charges dropped; one person’s is still pending.

I have tremendous respect for activists and I absolutely believe in and support the action of non-violent confrontation and civil disobedience because the status quo would never change if no one ever challenged it. I also admire anyone willing to be arrested for their beliefs, so long as their actions remain non-violent.  That said, there was something they showed at the screening that night that made me think. I also didn’t agree with it and I’m still working out as to why but I hope to draw the beginning of some conclusion by the end of this post. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,