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The Crime of Indifference

October 5, 2016

This has been a terrible day. It began with the news this morning that a tractor trailer carrying about 160 pigs overturned near Fearman’s slaughterhouse. After the initial feeling of horror, my first immediate thought was “I wonder if any of the pigs escaped?” And I hoped against hope. I knew that many activists I know would be on their way to the site — Toronto Pig Save holds vigils there several times a week. As challenging as the vigils are to attend, what the activists saw there today will likely haunt them forever. (As an aside, let me clarify that loaded word, activist: they are not “extreme”, they are not kooks. They are ordinary people who at some point saw what our society does to animals and found it so unconscionable that they couldn’t stand by in silence. That’s all. They’re just people who see an injustice and have to speak up, and they are deserving of respect, not the derision they too often receive.)

At least 40 pigs — piglets, really; they were only a few months old — died in or as a result of the accident. I confess I have not watched any of the videos that were shot this morning; the photos are bad enough, but the sound of animals in distress tears at my heart like nothing else can. The activists were there for hours.  They saw dead pigs in the overturned truck, dead pigs on the road, live pigs who were bruised and cut, trying to run…pigs who were more seriously injured terrified and screaming in pain.

Steve Jenkins, co-founder of Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, lives not far from where the accident happened and he was there too, as was Anita Krajnc, the woman who is currently on trial for giving water to dehydrated pigs on a hot summer day (she was arrested again today, for crossing police tape). When an animal arrives at a slaughterhouse injured, they cannot by law be “processed” and enter the food chain. People were pleading with Fearman’s (yes, that’s actually the name) employees to release at least some of the injured pigs so they could be tended by a veterinarian and live out their lives at a sanctuary. Steve Jenkins had himself offered sanctuary to the injured pigs. With breathtaking heartlessness, the activists’ pleas were ignored. Even though Fearman’s employees could have turned the pigs over, they instead chose to shoot them with a captive bolt gun and bulldoze them into a dumpster. If that’s not spite, I don’t know what is. They didn’t show a shred of compassion, of common decency, of humanity. Steve Jenkins wrote earlier today “In the four years I have known Esther, I have never heard the noises I heard coming from those pigs today. It was sheer terror, and I will never forget it. But the hardest part was witnessing first-hand the total indifference shown for their suffering, by those responsible for their care.” It’s callous, and utterly heartbreaking. Every single one of those poor piglets was someone. They are Esther, Julia, Mouse, Marge and BooBoo…they all had their own personalities and feelings, whether they were shy or curious or passive or mischievous.

The reality of their lives was bad enough. The accident today was bad enough, with the added fear and suffering it wrought. But when those slaughterhouse workers chose to kill injured piglets rather than let them go to sanctuary, it broke something in the spirit of every animal-lover I know. How could they?

This is why I spend so much time advocating for animals. They need it, urgently. They are *someone*, just like our cats and dogs. You can be anything…why not be kind?

  1. October 5, 2016 6:33 pm

    Infuriates me, breaks my heart, and reminds me that evil is always working against us. 😦

  2. October 5, 2016 6:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Mercy for all Animals and commented:
    There are times like this that I despair of anything changing and with a broken heart and justified fury, I am all the more determined to speak for the voiceless. The forces of evil are powerful, but the forces of light are more powerful still.

    • October 5, 2016 8:43 pm

      Thank you for reposting. This had been a brutal day.

      • October 6, 2016 12:06 pm

        I hear you and I am so broken-hearted over this. 😦

  3. cynthia andrews permalink
    October 5, 2016 6:40 pm

    Beautifully written. Debra we are all drowning in our tears today.

  4. October 5, 2016 7:12 pm

    Heartbreaking, spirit breaking, just absolutely awful. Thank you for the post.

  5. Kim Prictor permalink
    October 5, 2016 7:19 pm

    So well said. People I know and love eat meat, but not one of them would think this was ok. How far have we gone as a species that some of us are inured to others suffering?

  6. Lorraine irvine permalink
    October 6, 2016 11:23 am

    Why. Just why? They had nothing to lose by letting rescuers take the pigs- in fact the rescuers would have been helping them out. Humans hell-bent on nastiness or some kind of point they are trying to make because they don’t want activists. Those workers – I’m sure they would beg for aid and compassion in their hour of need. What human nature can turn out to be us disturbing and wicked.

  7. Sue Spahr permalink
    October 6, 2016 12:29 pm

    You’ve captured the feels I’m feeling: “…it broke something in the spirit of every animal-lover I know. How could they?” I was describing it as a flatness, my spark being snuffed out, my inner light being dimmed. A well-written piece, Debra. Thank you. ❤

  8. Crazypigmom permalink
    October 6, 2016 3:53 pm

    So beautifully written. Thank you for putting my exact thoughts and feelings in to words. My heart is broken. Yesterday was the most horrific scene I’ve ever seen. Those poor precious babies thought they were being saved from the wreckage and were coaxed with food to follow the workers. Some layed down on the grass to enjoy the sunshine for the first time in their lives. What a cruel joke that they were trusting enough to willingly walk to the kill floor. I will never forget these babies. RIP little ones.

    • October 6, 2016 5:14 pm

      That must have been incredibly painful to witness. Thank you for being there.

  9. October 6, 2016 6:51 pm

    Horrible. If they weren’t going to slaughter them (which on its own is evil), then the only point in not letting them go to the sanctuary would have probably been to prove that they don’t care. Absolutely heartless to not give a chance at a half decent life.

  10. Katie Yu permalink
    October 6, 2016 6:59 pm

    What a well-written emotional piece that speaks every word that I want to say! My heart bleeds everyday for the atrocities humans do onto others species. But what infuriates me even more is exactly the indifference of those around me. They say they can’t change their diet, can’t donate, and most won’t even sign a petition that I share. Everyday I do what I can to make a difference and yet I feel so alone & hopeless for the poor animals as well as humanity.

    • October 6, 2016 7:28 pm

      You are absolutely not alone. Thank you for your comment…Never give up. The world us changing.

  11. Anonymous permalink
    October 7, 2016 3:55 am

    As Isaac B Singer said…every day is Treblinka for animals. That is why I am vegetarian

  12. Anonymous permalink
    October 9, 2016 1:03 am

    It’s barbaric how these very intelligent creatures are treated, absolutely heart breaking!

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