This evening, I am still shaken by a moment I shared with a desolate-eyed pig looking at me from a dirty, cold truck, earlier in the day. I looked in the small opening and as another moved over – suddenly I saw her face. She looked at me with such a look of sadness. I’ve met several pigs who live in sanctuaries – they are usually full of rambunctiousness, rooting around, running and bumping into one another. You are always surprised by their strength, their energy and the way they throw themselves at their activity – whether it is eating or rooting or even sleeping. She was not like this. She was silent and immobile. She didn’t grunt or move – she only stood there in the freezing, dark truck, staring at me. It was only a few moments but it felt like a very long time. It haunted me for the whole day and this evening even the kids noticed my change in behavior. Rohin (who is eight years old) asked me, “Are you upset because the pig was staring at you?” I asked him, ” You noticed?” “Of course”, he said. “She looked at me too. It was like she was saying – Get me out of here”. Side by side – without discussing it until this moment – we had ‘heard’ the same thing from her. And then, she was gone.
I feel blessed that the kids (and my partner, Brian) not only understand – but that they share the same feelings. It really is love that will change things.
Radhika and Brian’s children Shimmi and Rohin have their created their own wonderful, informative, vegan website for kids YLove1 to educate other kids and help them go vegan. Be sure to visit www.ylove1.com.
Jenny* joined us for her first vigil today. This is her story…
Traffic was gridlocked and the truck started coming closer as traffic moved. We came to a full stop and I was directly beside the truck for a couple of minutes. It was literally right beside my head. I couldn’t avoid it anymore so I looked inside. I saw all of the little tiny pig snouts poking out of the holes right there on the middle of the highway. Most of them looked panicked, panting and climbing over each other. I started to cry. I felt so sad. I remember feeling that it just wasn’t fair. That’s when I decided I wasn’t going to eat them anymore. I didn’t want to play a role in that suffering.
For the next 15-25 minutes, we were stuck in traffic and the truck kept making its way past me. I live right near Lakeshore and Strachan so we were going the same route. I knew where they were headed because I drove past the vigils in the morning. For the rest of the ride home I was sad and didn’t turn my radio back on.
For the next month after that experience, I started watching more videos online and became more aware of the suffering that other animals were experiencing in the meat industry. I swore off all other meat except fish, diary and eggs. About 7 or 8 months later I discovered a farm sanctuary (Wishing Well) and saw the other side of the coin. I met animals who had been rescued from slaughter and got to see all of their personalities. I watched pigs respond to “sit” commands just like dogs and lay on their backs for belly rubs. At that point, along with many other experiences and realizations along the way, I went vegan.
I want to make a note that I actually used to drive past the vigils in the morning on my way to work. Sometimes I would honk to support them but other times I would try to ignore them because I was a meat eater. Knowing what I know now, in the back of my mind, I knew that there was something very wrong going on and I was avoiding it. When you actually see the faces and reactions of these animals in pain and up and close in person, you just can’t avoid it anymore. It becomes your reality and you want to help the animals as much as you can. I was so happy to attend my first vigil and meet all of the compassionate people I had been driving by. Seeing the pigs in the truck up close again reinforced what I was doing and put a fire under me to speak up more for these animals. Also, seeing how Toronto Pig Save has affected so many people gives me hope that more animals will be saved.
-Jenny * (not real name)
Jo-Ann McArthur/WeAnimals and Anita Krajnc