How exciting to feel like one is part of a growing and ever more present animal rights movement. There are billboard campaigns sprouting up all over the world, the most recent one being Animal Justice Canada’s campaign which is now underway in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. These are no small undertakings and I can only imagine the scope of creativity, dedication and time that goes into bringing these massive endeavors to fruition. Kudos, congratulations and thanks to all those who worked to make this happen.
Direct action is bold, effective, in your face activism that is taking hold and highlighted more and more in mainstream media as time goes on. This is no better illustrated than in the work of Anita Krajnc and her confreres at Toronto Pig Save. For the last four and a half years they have been holding vigils outside the four(one has since closed) major slaughterhouses in the the Toronto area. Since their inception, they have added Toronto Cow Save and Toronto Chicken Save to their list of vigils. They hold three vigils weekly and one all day vigil once a month on a year round basis.
While this started out as a local grassroots initiative, Anita has since garnered international attention when she had an emotional exchange with a trucker on June 22, 2015 at one of these very vigils. Anita had been giving some water to one of the pigs destined for slaughter. He or she was imprisoned in a moving holding cell, standing in fear, panting and needing some hydration. What followed was a verbal exchange between Anita and the trucker who asked her “politely”( NOT) to stop helping the pig and to stand back from the truck. Part of the conversation went something like this. I am paraphrasing in places.
Anita: Can you give this guy some water?
Trucker: Don’t give him anything. Do not put water in there.
Anita: Jesus said, ‘If they are thirsty, give them water’.
Trucker: You know what, these are not human you dumb frickin’ broad. Now I am going to call the police.
Anita: Call Jesus. Have some compassion. Have some compassion.
Trucker: What have you got in that water?
Trucker: How do I know that?
Anita: I will give you a sample. You can have it tested.
Trucker: You do it again and I’ll slap it out of your hand.
Anita: If you want assault charges, go ahead.
The exchange ended with the trucker driving away and with Anita subsequently being charged with mischief after the “owner” of the pigs, Eric Van Boekel filed a formal complaint. If convicted Anita could face up to 10 years in prison and and a 5000.00$ fine. The case in the courts now.
Of course I am not even a little bit surprised by the demeanor of this particular trucker and his obvious lack of compassion for the beings in his charge. His assertion that the pigs are not human speaks volumes about the lack of rights afforded farmed animals in Canada. I guess they are sub human then, property, commodities, entities not deserving of the slightest modicum of respect.
I have great admiration for Anita and for her commitment to veganism and animal rights, regardless of the personal cost. She said that she is prepared to go to jail for this cause. Would I have the courage to do the same? I have to be honest and say that I am not really sure I would.
I was fortunate enough to hear her speak in Montreal, Quebec, Canada this past weekend at an all day forum entitled In the Courts and in the Streets. The topic of her speech was Testing the Legal Boundaries: Confronting Power through Direct Action. She shared the floor with Jean Léger, an environmental activist who is taking on the hotly discussed issue of environmental damage caused by the production of oil.
Here is what I learned from Anita about non violent direct action:
Do you love animals and do your actions reflect this love?
Do you give them your time and strength?
Our activism (Toronto Pig Save) is a loved based approach, the goal of which is to inspire people to take action.
Our approach is two pronged. We promote veganism and activism/advocacy
I don’t think people would ever participate in the killing of babies if they knew.
The case against me will hinge on The Golden Rule.
Animal agriculture is responsible for as much or more environmental devastation as is oil production.
Attend vigils and demonstrations as much as you can.
I was so struck by her humility and conviction and I know that going forward Anita will provide a shining example of all that is good in the world and that she will bring much to the ongoing advocacy for the liberation of all nations caught in our various death for profit industries. My hat is off to you Anita. I want to be like you if I ever decide to grow up.
Annie’s Vegan View
Please seek out fellow animal rights activists and organize and/or attend vigils in your home town.
We can do this. We can give our strength and our time.
May all beings be happy and free.