Toronto Pig Save is here to assist you with your commitment to help save and rescue enslaved mammals and other animals. TPS would like to play a supportive role should you require helpful tips, ideas, and material assistance. We would like to provide you with some basic tools to get started with a Pig Save-like group in your area. Together, we can make a difference and help to close down all slaughterhouses defacing the Earth and expand the network of sanctuaries to cover the entire planet.
One of the key ways of encouraging people to fully identify with the plight of pigs and other enslaved animals is to bear witness of their suffering. Tolstoy recognized the importance of bearing witness and intervening in his book Calendar of Wisdom:
“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him [/her] who suffers, and try to help him[/her].”
We feel it is everyone’s responsibility and duty to bear witness of the suffering of animals and to intervene to create a respectful, nonviolent vegan society. As painful as it may seem to initiate a campaign to bear witness, it is actually empowering when done as a group. The paradox of painful yet meaningful and empowering aspects of bearing witness was captured perfectly by Vivikananda in the nineteenth century:
“But my heart has grown much, much larger, and I have learnt to feel [the suffering of others]”
By collectively bearing witness and intervening on a large scale, the horror that we feel regarding the “animal emergency” involving billions of farmed animals and threats to wild species will be reversed as we move towards a critical mass which will enable us to turn the tide and create one big sanctuary on the entire Earth.
How to get started…
You can start small. The first step is to begin with investigating what animal exploitation facilities exist in your area.
• Find out what slaughterhouses, stockyard/auctions, factory/finishing farms and other animal facilities are in your community. For a complete listing of federally expected slaughterhouse in Canada see herehttp://active.inspection.gc.ca/scripts/meavia/reglist/reglist.asp?lang=e and for a listing of provincially inspected slaughterhouses in Ontario herehttp://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/inspection/meatinsp/licenced_operators_list.htm
• Gather information on the companies such as what types of animals they slaughter, how many each day; find out the animal transport routes through your area; the source of the animals; the environmental pollutants emitted from the facility; and whether there is a union representing the workers
• post this information on a website (wordpress.com offers free websites; it’s what Toronto Pig Save uses: www.torontopigsave.org)
Realize you are not alone in your desire to help animals
• Find out who else cares in your community and reach out to them to join you in a collective effort
• Enlist help from your family and friends
• Start a facebook group and invite people who also care about the plight of animals in your community
• Arrange a potluck get together or meeting to discuss ideas, goals, strategies and tactics, and plans.
• Meet with other animals groups in your area who share your interests in helping animals and ask for their support in organizing initiatives and getting the word out.
Bear witness together of the suffering of the animals
• Work toward holding vigils to bear witness as a group in high traffic areas near or at the facilities you wish the public to know about
• Take photos and videos and commission artworks in order to “make slaughterhouses have glass walls”
• Bring a clipboard and pen to record truck license plates, ID numbers, time of day, temperature, and any possible violations. You can download information sheets on our website here: http://torontopigsave.org/slaughterhouse-vigil/
• Find out what city or state councilors/representatives in your area are animal friendly and invite them to your events
• Table at a variety of events as a way of networking face-to-face with others who care. For example, after TPS tabled at 10,000 Tastes at Yonge and Dundas Square and the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair, our membership grew as we connected with a host of people who became active participants.
• Organize fundraising events such as bake sales, dinners with speakers, and garage sales for the cause
• Visit and support local animal sanctuaries
• Plan special events in your area at or near the slaughterhouse or auction house. For example, TPS held a veggie dog give away on Labour Day, organized a series of protests against the “(Un)Royal Agricultural Winter (Un) Fair’s enslaved mammal auctions, sang Christmas carols for the pigs outside the slaughterhouse, held a fundraiser in combination with other animals groups featuring an activist city councilor to present a keynote address
• Increase participation at vigils by inviting special guests. For example, Marc Bekoff attended a TPS vigil when he was in town and wrote about it:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/babe-lettuce-and-tomato-y_b_1003156.html Also, ask other groups to co-sponsor a vigil and other events. For instance, the Toronto Vegetarian Meet-up group and VAST made a vigil their meet-up event in December 2011 and it turned into TPS’s largest vigil to date
• organize an art show with animal rights artists as a way of making slaughterhouses have glass walls
• Contact local media with your events and get the word out with posters, approach local businesses, i.e., TPS and Sadie’s Juice Bar and Diner worked together raising initial funding for brochures, posters, and artworks.
A Love-based, Gandhian and Pro-worker Approach
TPS tries to use a positive, love-based, Gandhian approach and is pro-labour. We speak to people as equals with no judgment. It’s fulfilling and effective. Such positive approaches tend to produce ripple effects in the public and in worker responses. Other side benefits are: there is less conflict and activist burnout.
Work cooperatively with ALL involved with the goal of creating a caring and environmentally-friendly society and a healthy vegan way of life.
With TPS holding 3 vigils per week, using a negative, conflict-based approach is not sustainable, which would quickly lead to activist burn-out.
All public relations should be positive, i.e. signs are positive, smiles when possible, non-reactive, and being non-argumentative and nonjudgmental. For example, TPS uses big reddish-pink hearts with Pig Save written on them, we have “Love and kindness for Pigs” signs, “Where has our empathy gone?” sign, and a series of “Why Love One But Eat the Other” signs with our website and other info. We can provide your group with these and your contact info. You can find a link to the posters here:http://monarchwebdesign.ca/TPS_Posters/
This approach works because it’s positive, supportive of group and others too, it’s energizing and helps the group grow larger.
The popular documentary Forks Over Knives advocates a “whole grain, plant-based diet”. This film may “save your life” as the film’s poster claims. TPS bought and is distributing hundreds of copies of this monumental documentary.
Mark Hawthorne, Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism
Quote from Hawthorne’s book on tabling:
“Consistent exposure to the truth reinforces our message and helps consumers understand not only how serious the issue of animal exploitation is, but their role in it. Such knowledge can be shocking to a compassionate person,…”
Melanie Joy, Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation
Pigs transported in extreme heat sent to Quality Meat Packers’ slaughterhouse:
Let’s work together to make slaughterhouses have glass walls and help people work towards a just transition to a healthy, vegan food system, turn the whole Earth into one big sanctuary for all animals, and protect the planet’s climate, air, water and land for all life.