The Hardest Ceiling to Crack

Earlier this month when – and I still can’t believe it as I type these words – Donald Trump won the U.S. election, Hillary Clinton gave a moving concession speech the following day.  As I wrote over at my other blog, not many speeches made my politicians in my lifetime have moved me to tears but hers did. It was an emotional day.

A week later, there was a protest here in Toronto to speak out against Donald Trump and I decided to go. There’s a Trump Hotel downtown and, in what must be the shortest march ever, we walked from City Hall to the hotel (it took less than ten minutes, even with hundreds of people).  It may seem odd to march against the President of another country but Trump’s election will still affect us, as it will other countries. Plus, speaking out against his “victory” to the highest office in the land lets our Prime Minister know that we are not all onboard with Trump’s bullshit and to tread carefully when dealing with him on our behalf.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

“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 , , , , ,

Coming Back, Moving Forward

My husband Julian and I spent last weekend at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Neither of us had been before and we spent two nights in a tiny house (part of Farm Sanctuary’s bed and breakfast accommodations) and two full days getting to meet rescued farm animals: turkeys, cows, pigs, goats, sheep and ducks.  I wrote a post about it and included some pictures of the animals over at my other blog so if you’d like to read more about our visit, just click here.

Since going vegan in 2013, I have discovered that there are only a few places where I can just exhale and not have to be on guard at the meal table or wonder if someone is going to say something stupid about vegans: one is our home, one is around other vegans, and the other is at animal sanctuaries. In these surroundings I am able to truly relax; to be allowed to be a vegan without having to censor myself in some way or worry if I’m going to have to defend my choice to not eat animals at any given moment. And while I have never regretted my decision to go vegan, for me it is crucial that I have people and places like this in my life where I can be myself, with full acceptance of who I am and what is important to me. Without them I think the reality of how our world views, portrays and treats animals would be unbearable. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

This is the World We’re Living In

This morning in Burlington, a city located about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, a truck overturned on a side road.  The truck was headed to Fearmans Pork plant, a slaughterhouse that “processes” around 10,000 pigs per day.  The driver suffered minor injuries and as of this posting, police are still investigating what exactly caused the crash.

The truck was carrying approximately 180 pigs and 40 were confirmed to have died as a result of the crash.  The over 100 pigs that survived were either euthanized on the spot or, if they were “lucky” enough to still be able to walk after having already endured being in a steel trailer that flipped with them inside of it, were – unbelievably – walked the remaining distance to their deaths. Since their ultimate destination was Fearmans anyway, the company decided it wouldn’t be worth changing trucks for and instead had its employees herd the bloodied, injured and scared pigs to an even greater terror. 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 , , , ,

Activism and the End Goal

I had the pleasure of attending Toronto’s Pride Parade this year and, for the third year in a row, marching with Mercy for Animals, one of the over 180 participants walking alongside so many other great organizations. For someone who hated parades even as a kid because of the crowds, it’s a testament not only to how much I believe in the work MFA is doing but to the genuine fun that is the Pride Parade. Obviously it was not always this way – Pride Week in Toronto evolved from the now-infamous 1981 Bathhouse Raids, where Toronto Police violently raided and arrested over 300 people from the LGBT community. It was only this year that the Toronto Police Chief issued a formal apology for those actions.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,