When it was over (for me at least), I opened the door of the car where my husband was waiting and settled heavily onto the passenger seat. I sat there for a few moments, numb with the stink of death and desperation assaulting my nostrils, my emotions and my brain. I could literally smell the blood of all the doomed prisoners in those death for hire trucks. The fact that I was sunburned because I had forgotten my hat and parched because I did not have any water, were minor annoyances compared to that which I had just witnessed outside what Anita Kranjc and Toronto Pig Save described as follows:
Ryding Regency Meat Packers is the most violent place in Toronto.
With the acrid smell of suffering still lingering in my memory nearly two months later, I must say that I agree.
Do I regret making the 5 hour trip down the highway to attend this June 14th, 2016 24 hour vigil organized by Toronto Pig, Cow and Chicken Saves?
Definitely not, but I do oh so regret what I saw there on Glen Scarlett Road in Toronto, home to Ryding Regency Meat Packers Ltd., Genesis Meat Packers Inc and St Helen’s Meat Packers Limited.
There were several players in the scenario that played out on this sunny day on that foul smelling and dismal street. Let’s set the scene. There were the AR activists, the truckers carrying the doomed prisoners, the media and possibly the police (although I did not see them), the slaughterhouse workers and the occasional passersby. As the AR activists trickled in from the morning vigil at Fearmans Pork Inc, the energy in the air began to crackle with anticipation. People discussed the morning happenings at Fearmans, including an altercation between an AR activist and a flesh throwing trucker.
Would something similar happen here?
Would someone be arrested?
DXE (Manchester contingency, I believe) soon arrived with some signs, a bullhorn and a plan in place for a peaceful, respectful vigil. We were all gathered for a group picture when a tractor trailer turned the corner at the end of the street and slowly made its way toward the slaughterhouse gate which, as it swung open, revealed a gaping, frightening hole eager to swallow up the lives of the poor, frightened cows. Activists took off at a run despite the protestations of DXE and followed the truck into those gates of death and onto the slaughterhouse grounds.
Everyone was yelling, slaughterhouse workers were struggling to usher people out and to close the gate on activists looking for redemption for their bovine friends and fellow earthlings. One female activist warned a slaughterhouse worker not to put his hands on her again. The gate finally clanged shut and the activists were left clinging to the outside of the fence somewhat bereft and desperate for a different, just outcome.
As I walked over to join in, I could hear some activists talking to employees who, for some reason, were hanging around on the other side of the fence. They were all dressed in orange or blue garb, some sporting hairnets and helmets. One tall fellow was smirking and being very belligerent (a defensive posture, I imagine), but a couple of others were quiet, just listening. One man in particular caught my attention. He seemed pensive, sad even as he made this startling admission:
They (the cows) do cry real tears when they realize what is happening.
But it is just a reflex, nothing more. (a reflex of his own perhaps when he realized the potential impact of his disclosure).
I plucked up my courage and engaged these men in conversation, the main goal of which was to be respectful, yet truthful about why we were here and what needs to change. I can’t remember now exactly what I said, but we did talk about:
the 65 billion plus farmed animals and the one hundred million tons of aquatic animals who die every year for our conditioned and hijacked palates.
the enslavement of other species being completely unnecessary for humans to thrive.
the industries which use other species for profit as unacceptable.
the planet being on the verge of collapse because of farmed animal agriculture and over fished oceans.
our peaceful goal.
I encouraged them to become informed by watching COWSPIRACY:The Sustainability Secret and then thanked them for listening.
And that is when another tractor trailer turned the corner and at the request of DXE, idled outside the gate for three minutes to allow us to approach and to interact with the cows held therein. This is first time in my life that I have been so up close and personal with living beings about to be murdered (let’s not mince words).
I stood maybe two feet from the truck, lifted up my phone and just started clicking the shutter, hoping to get a shot or two that would aptly portray the horror I was feeling. The stench of imminent death was choking the air around the truck. Inside, cows covered with excrement rained on them from the babies stored on the top level, were stamping the shit covered floor of the truck, bellowing out their fear and staring at us with wide and disbelieving eyes. One cow looked right at me and held my gaze as the tears came and I whispered a perhaps unheard, heartfelt apology.
Then the three minutes were up, the gate opened and the cows disappeared. One more truck came and went and I sit here today knowing that the cows I saw in those trucks are all dead and many, many more since then.
Annie’s Vegan View
And then I remember the words of Anita Kranjc: Be vegan, be active and bear witness.
This is the vegan message in a nutshell.
Veganism is now.
May all beings be happy and free.