Last week, Viva! joined up with compassionate local activists at the 5th Bristol Animal Save event outside an abattoir operated by Tulip in Bristol.
Tulip supplies pig meat to supermarket giant, Waitrose. We recently held a vigil alongside the Save Movement and Surge at Waitrose HQ to pay respects to 180 pig victims who died or were killed following the crash of a lorry transporting the animals to a Tulip abattoir. Up to 40 pigs were slaughtered on the roadside whilst the remainder were taken to the abattoir, where they were also killed.
We hadn’t attended any vigils before, so we were a little unsure what to expect. We were welcomed with open arms by the activists and felt a natural bond with them as we stood together watching the trucks roll in. Each truck stopped for no more than three minutes so that Save could ‘bear witness’. Some pigs were clearly terrified. Others appeared calmer, but still desolate. Some huddled in the centre of the carriages, others pushed their way forward so they could explore the air outside. We noticed one pig with a prolapse – clearly unfit to travel, others were covered in scratches. The eye of a pig is like that of no other farmed animal. And the eyes that we saw that day - some brown, some blue - displayed emotions that were as clear as day.
Two of the trucks we filmed went in full, and left empty. A ‘Danpak’ lorry sat stationary at the entrance. This abattoir uses gas to kill animals - the noxious CO2 gas that causes pigs to struggle and defecate in panic. Save campaigners have heard pigs screaming, then go silent. Nobody wants to die after all.
The Save Movement is comprised of groups around the world who bear witness on vigils to pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals as they are transported to the slaughterhouse. The vigils usually take place near to slaughterhouse entrances. Sometimes with permission from the slaughterhouse, sometimes not. The goal of the Save vigils is to ‘raise awareness about the plight of farmed animals, to help people become vegan, and to build a mass-based, grassroots animal justice movement’.
Save started in December 2010 with the inception of Toronto Pig Save. Today there are close to 100 groups across Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere. Last year, Save hit the headlines when Anita Krajnc, a Pig Save organiser in Canada, was put on trial for offering water to thirsty, traumatised pigs as they were transported for slaughter. Here in Britain, where there are around 36 Save groups, local media have covered the vigils, as has the Independent.
This is not the first time transport trucks have been exposed to cameras and protestors. The community-organising approach of Save vigils and the adherence of a Code of Conduct by activists brings a modern twist to the actions however. And means the public would be hard pushed not to be on side. The pig industry however views things differently. The National Pig Association claims its members “cannot sleep at night” because of the actions of Save. The meat industry knows it is vulnerable when consumers look directly at the faces of the animals that it kills. You cannot but wonder, how long the Save Movement will get the permissions it needs, but for now, Save is growing fast, and looks to be unstoppable.
And no-one should ever have to bear witness to this travesty. It is all so unnecessary. As Philip Woollen said ‘The Axis of Evil doesn’t run through Iraq, or Iran or North Korea. It runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks.’
Viva! is excited to work alongside Bristol Animal Save. So watch this space!
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You may have seen our exposé on a pig farm supplying Morrisons. Now, we have incredible news. The Estate where it is located – DIRECTLY DUE TO OUR INVESTIGATION – are planning to “get the buildings vacated in the quickest time possible”. We have also been informed by locals that there are plans to demolish the farm. This exposé was funded by you – our supporters!