Tag Archives: Pigs

Making Animals Visible Again

I’ve been out of a job for nearly three weeks now and the upside of that is it’s allowed me the chance to do more activism.  I had a job interview on Monday and though I’m still actively looking for work, I’ve welcomed this time to get out there and do some of the things I couldn’t do when I was working full-time. One of those things was attending slaughterhouse vigils with Toronto Pig Save, an animal rights group here in Toronto.

I don’t want to assume everyone knows what vigils are so here it is: vigils consist of standing outside slaughterhouses, on public property, and watching the animals marked for slaughter come in on trucks. The purpose is to document what is happening to them with photos and videos, and to also raise awareness by holding informative signs visible to the public driving or walking by. Inspired by the writings of Leo Tolstoy, “bearing witness” to the suffering of another living being is a powerful act: it is upsetting, yes, but when you see it with your own eyes, and happening in your own city, it does push you to do more. The pain you feel from seeing suffering up close also becomes the force that drives you to keep going. A double-edged sword, to be sure, but one I feel honoured to carry. Continue reading

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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

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We Can’t Have It Both Ways

I’ve mentioned before that I battle depression from time to time and that’s where I’ve been for the past three weeks, with my head stuck in some dark clouds. Thankfully, the clouds always/eventually clear and I’m starting to turn the corner once more. Thanks for your patience and for still checking in to this blog while I was missing in action.  Let’s get to the animals, shall we?

Late last month, I read an article with the following headline:

“Pigs Help Shed Light On How Humans Decompose Deep Under the Pacific Ocean.”

Obviously this was an article on animals used in research, the practice of which is rarely questioned so long as it’s deemed to benefit humans in some way.  The story was also predictable in another form: rationalizing the use of animals by adopting the they’re-just-like-us! attitude, a convenient admission that is normally scoffed at when activists or vegans dare to voice that same possibility. Continue reading

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Bacon Revolt

Here’s a trend that seems to be on the rise and one that’s been pissing me off for a while now: the baconization of everything.  Poutine?  Let’s put some fucking bacon on it.  Ice cream?  Let’s add some bacon!  Today at the mall I even saw a board game called “Bacon-opoly” and wanted to set fire to the entire display stand.  But what really set me off was last night when I was trying a new recipe that called for a tablespoon of maple syrup.  I added the amount, then licked the spoon (as you do) and immediately noticed that the syrup did not taste right.  I looked at the jar and nearly hit the ceiling: the reason it tasted differently was it was actually “Smoky Bacon Flavoured Maple Syrup”.  I was livid.  Livid at myself for not noticing sooner (I’d been making smoothies with this garbage all weekend, poured directly into the blender), livid at the store for charging the same amount as actual pure maple syrup and finally at food manufacturers for adding animal by-products to yet another item that was just fine on its own, fuck you very much. Continue reading

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Happily Ever Esther

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and Julian and I had the much-anticipated opportunity to go and see Esther the Wonder Pig in her new home at Happily Ever Esther Sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario.  If you’re not sure who Esther is, she is a rescued pig who was thought to be a “mini pig” when couple Derek and Steve first welcomed her into their home.   Even after being informed by a vet that Esther was likely not a mini pig after all due to her docked tail – a sign indicative of today’s animal agriculture practices – they had already fallen in love with her and 670 lbs of not-so-mini-pig later, their lives have changed completely.  Soon after getting Esther, Derek and Steve made the connection between her and what they were eating and went vegan.  Then last year they were able to purchase property in Campbellville and opened a Sanctuary in Esther’s name.  I highly recommend checking out her Facebook page (it’s impossible not to feel better after reading it) and you can also read the post I wrote about her last year. Continue reading

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The Farce is Strong with This One

As a vegan, I believe in active resistance and non-violence.  Sadly, this does not mean I never have a violent thought.  Far from it.  At any given moment there’s an entire fight sequence going on in my head and as much as I strive to be most like Wonder Woman, the reality is I am much closer to being the Hulk. In the words of Bruce Banner from the latest Avengers’ movie when asked what his secret weapon is for being able to control his anger and turn into the Hulk at any given moment: “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.”

There are two particular stores in Toronto that make me want to hulk-out regularly and throw a brick through the window every time I pass them.  I wouldn’t (at least not during working hours when people are in there) but dear god, the urge is strong.  One is called, Bacon Nation, and they also have a food truck in the city that says, “Go Pig or Go Home” splashed across the front and well, fuck them. Continue reading

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