Tuesday 18th October 2016: Another day, Another Hollar.

It is a very new and currently inexplicable feeling to process through your central nervous system: the knowledge that this morning a truck the vertical size of a wealthy British home arrived to it’s final destination; but before doing so it switched off its engine for a few moments so that a group of humans could endeavour to make an emotional connection with the pigs inside.

 

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It is such an overwhelming feeling to know that this process happened – and is currently ongoing – in real time, in a manageable car journey from where I am currently sat writing about how I currently feel. I have never really known that anything was going to die before. Equally, I never knew todays victims and as long as I don’t eat meat I probably never directly will. And yes I do understand that according to Viva! at the rate that animals are slaughtered for food per year in the UK alone (in the billions), that in the time that it has taken me to write this sentence – and for you to read it – hundreds of animals have already died. Thousands if you are a slow reader.
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During this time people have died too of course, but callous as it may sound to some this it not my current focus. Because easier as it is to emotionally disconnect from large, faceless numbers; there is something eerily unforgettable about knowing what my sister has chosen to witness this morning: trucks arriving to Tulip Slaughter House in Greater Manchester, packed to the rafters with the faces of living pigs. Considering that current studies in psychology and behaviourism show pigs to be able to outsmart dogs and monkeys, to posses empathy and to be more than aware of their surroundings on many levels; my sister had previously assured me that her and the other activists will either be greeted with sounds of panic and confusion. Or deafening silence.

So why do they do it? Why do these individuals now adhere to a growing movement in the U.K. of activists waking up at the crack-of-dawn to individually transport themselves to a slaughter house, to bear witness to, photograph, and offer words of love and comfort to the pigs and other farmed animals; before seeing the impartial hand of destiny swoop in and begin the process of their deaths. Death by gassing in this case. I read from a personal account that it is because of the unquestionable online success of visual and written reports from the front-line, which have awakened in others a curiosity to see where their meat comes from and how it is produced. A sort-of “lifting of the veil” on the true individual cost of a collective personal taste.  

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The idea behind this movement (which started in Canada) is to momentarily offer words of comfort and a human connection to the pigs, nothing more. There really is nothing more that can be done. But that doesn’t meant that something shouldn’t be done in the first place. It is none-violent protests like these that make the world go round and round until it changes.

It is the seemingly insignificant acts by a few impassioned randomers with time to dedicate to their cause, that will one day push that same cause into the public domain. It is through sharing the final moments of a living creature who didn’t really want to have to be painfully killed in order to spend its brief afterlife being fried, slathered in tomato ketchup, and pressed between two pieces of lightly toasted Warburtons white bread; that may make others think twice.

It is a way to say “hey marketing and advertising departments, I think that you left out this footage on the editing room floor”. It is also the least that one can do to be a part of trying to do something, anything, to begin to find a solution to this highly complex situation (environmental – ethical – health). Only it arguably takes more guts to do what those men and women did this morning then are currently being disembowelled from the victims. To face life in the eyes and to apologise for not being able to do much more than that is a ballsy move.

So, will I eventually sit to the left of my sister on her next journey down the winding country lanes, to a place where audible but invisible screams make up the background noise of many an early-morning dog walkers journey? I do hope so. But first I need to consider what it might take from me when I choose to give myself in this way….as someone who has never had to see much wrong with this world before, I don’t feel prepared enough to start doing so at present.

And as much as it should not be about me, it also must be; because to be an effective voice in anything requires an ability to know when to speak up, and when to let others of the same mind do it for you.

 

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Sharing the burden of witnessing helps to keep eyes open longer and resilience stronger. I know that my time will come when I will want to open my eyes and see for myself what I was blind to for most of my life – the truth. Until then I can sit here and I can write, because I not only won the locational lottery of life in regards to current ongoing global wars and human suffering; but the humanism lottery of life in regards to simply stayin’ alive.

“…I’ve been kicked around
Since I was born.
And now it’s all right. It’s OK.
And you may look the other way….” 

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