Graphic Novel

Caitlin Black is an illustrator living in Toronto. She has currently completed her fourth graphic novel entitled “Mary of Mud Creek”. We are pleased to present three excerpts from her engaging and riveting work. Caitlin says of her graphic novel:

It is a fictional story about a little girl growing up on a modern-day industrial pig farm in rural Ontario. In this sense it is a modern day “Charlotte’s Web” of sorts.

Please visit Caitlin’s Art Corner.

* Double click images to enlarge

1. After a fire has killed a majority of the pigs on Mud Creek Farms Mary decides to confront her father about abuses she has witnessed. (four panels)

2. Mary flees from the farm where she has seen the pigs being violently abused. She spends the night confiding in celestial pigs she has befriended in her imagination. (three panels)

3. Mary makes a last ditch attempt to rescue the remaining sows the night before they will be sent to slaughter. (six panels)

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John Robbins, The Joy and Tragedy of Pigs, The Animals’ Agenda (January 1989).

David Sztybel, Extending the Circle of Compassion to Pigs (We are grateful to David for this poignant, original essay for Toronto Pig Save, February 2011). See David’s website here.

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Winter at Pig Island

by Anne Griffin

Cold, crowded and scared

Frigid winter air

Blowing through the vents

We huddle together for warmth

Truck stops

A moment of relief

From the bone chilling breeze

Friendly faces approach from the windows

Some people pet us, some take pictures, some cry

Could it be true, is help finally here?

For a brief time

If only we could speak

Please help us, I would ask

Our journey then continues

As the truck pulls away

Destiny unknown, I fear, I dread

Susie The Pig
By Sophie Divilek
This is the story of Susie the pig,
She had never seen daylight, nor grown big.
Never seen the white clouds, never seen the blue sky,
Never seen the sun up so so high.
Susie was born on a factory farm,
Where everyday she saw animals being harmed.
She had heard their yells, squeals and cries,
And seen the terror in their eyes.
In the Farm almost everyday,
Susie would see a crate take animals away.
She thought they went to a wonderful place,
With grass and trees and running space.
When it was Susie’s turn to come on the crate,
She imagined the new world being  pretty great.
But alas, young Susie, so docile and sweet,
Was tortured, slaughtered and turned into meat.
There was no afterlife for this young pig,
No funeral to hold, no grave to dig.
Whats wrong with this? A life was taken!
Just for a person to have some bacon?
This isn’t right, this isn’t fair,
Become a vegan and show you care.

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Natalie Marconi’s biography: I had never protested anything in my life. I knew right from wrong, but to know that, you have to actually ‘know’ what is really going on. The day I viewed Farm to Fridge was the day I knew I had to go out there and tell everyone else the truth. What a hideous truth it is and it’s so hard to grasp that such atrocities are happening.

I remember my first Toronto Pig Save protest. The truck pulled up and I looked inside and saw such sad souls.  I felt sick to my stomach and tears started streaming down my face. I couldn’t move and I thought oh my God, how can we let this happen?

Animals have always inspired me, but mostly it was the dogs and cats because those were the animals I always knew. When I found out about the forgotten 99%, the farm animals, my circle of compassion just ballooned beyond what I thought was possible. Every day I think about the poor souls who are living in horrendous conditions and being slaughtered for no good reason whatsoever.  Things really have to change and I am going to do my best to help in that change. I give thanks each day for my transformation and I ask the universe for help in transforming others as well.

Two things inspired me to write this poem.   A t-shirt slogan  of which I have used in the first two sentences and this quote by  Pythagoras: “As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and  pain cannot reap the joy of life.”

I use to eat beings, they were called meat.

My fork was a weapon like a gun on the street.

Then one night  in my darkest of dreams, coming down the road I heard their screams.

The pigs in the truck all staring at me.

Crying for help,  hoping I’d see.

My eyes wide open for the very first time,

to the pigs, their plight  and the hideous crime.

The animal horrors are not on show.

Its all based on lies, that’s what I know.

I use to eat beings they were called meat.

Now that I eat plants there are no guns on the street.


There is a place called hell

It exists for all farm animals born

Coming into this world is full of sorrow and pain

Feeling unloved, cold and lonely

Wanting only to be healthy, happy and free

But that’s just a wild and crazy dream

While waiting to die a torturous death

Please ask your friends to GO Vegan!

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Anne Griffin’s poems about pigs are a heart-rending cry for animal justice. Originally from Manchester, Anne lives in Toronto. Anne says,

I like to focus on farm animals by volunteering for Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals and doing vegan outreach. The last two lines of the poem were triggered one day by my cat lying in my arms being petted while I was on the internet and I saw a picture of a starving child in Africa. There are many pets being spoiled and pampered while children are dying but I translated this to tortured and murdered factory farmed animals.

Wishing for a taste of freedom

No room to crawl
Amid cold concrete walls

We long to run wild and fast
And to frolic and play in the grass

Oh to have some sunshine
And decent food to dine

We like to root and wallow in mud
But down the road people will taste our blood

We long to be free
But slaves we were born to be

To be a pampered cat or dog
Instead of a factory farm hog

Death Becomes Us

We’re all seen as food machines
Not living sentient beings
Brothers and sisters all here
We wait and quake in fear
As we hear the screams of those ahead
Further down the line they’re all dead
After a life with no fun
Bacon and ham we all become

Pigs in Misery

Artificial Light
A bare, single bulb
No fresh air or sunshine
An overwhelming stench instead
Cold, bleak concrete walls and floors
Surrounding metal bars
Not enough space for comfort
Many lives spent in this misery
Does anyone hear our pain?
But, alas, we’ve no voice
That’s why we need yours
Maybe, just maybe someone will listen