Pig Save: Bearing Witness

‎In “Pig Save: Bearing Witness”, a 9 minute short, Toronto Pig Save activists bear witness each week of the pigs in transport trucks and in the slaughterhouse at Quality Meat Packers in downtown Toronto. The regular Toronto vigils are part of a growing Pig Save movement including weekly vigils in Burlington organized by Hamilton/Burlington Pig Save and the rise of Melbourne Pig Save and their regular protests to highlight their ban sow stalls campaign. Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur ofWeAnimals.org goes on a road trip to visit the recently rescued Julia and her piglets at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen in upstate New York.

Please consider starting a Pig Save-like group at the slaughterhouse in your community

The “Pig Save: Bearing Witness” project is made possible by funding from Culture & Animals Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing animal advocacy through intellectual & artistic expression. Learn more at cultureandanimals.org

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Pigs transported in record heat on July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012–the hottest day on record– pigs still transported to Quality Meat Packers!

Toronto Pig Save bears witness! You can hear extreme vocalizations, see many pigs lying down and having trouble breathing, pigs with bloody snouts as they are trying to push through the truck windows to get air, severe markings on their ears and back from rough handling with electric prods (perhaps b/c the pigs are hard to move in this extreme heat and many are lame, so they get tortured with the electric prod even more), and finally pigs scrambling on top of one another trying to get to the air holes and out of the trucks. This should not be happening in Toronto or anywhere. This should be illegal!
Please contact your MP and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Also, please contact Dr. Tom Popper, in charge of transportation at CFIA at  (905) 513-2851, tom.popper@inspection.gc.ca

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Pigs transported in extreme heat sent to Quality Meat Packers’ slaughterhouse

This 6-minute video contains footage inside pig transport trucks during this Thursday’s heat wave (July 21, 2011) and – the next morning (Fri., July 22)- inside Quality Meat Packer’s ‘kill floor’ … sadly, some of the pigs you see in the trucks were killed the next morning starting at 6 am. Warning: this video is graphic. It’s important to bear witness because you’re more likely to act on what you see, educate others, and spread the word. Toronto Pig Save calls for a just transition in our food economy, which puts an end to animal and human exploitation and moves towards a local, organic, and whole grain, plant-based (that is, vegan) diet. We encourage the use of multimedia and direct action to “make slaughterhouses have glass walls,” so bring your cameras whenever you join us or are in the area.

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Pigs in transport trucks in the scorching heat in July 2o11. Temperatures hit 38 degrees Celsius & well over 40 with  humidity index. If being in the sun is unbearable, imagine what it is like to be a pig stuck in a transport truck in crowded conditions, dehydrated with no water for the entire trip, and standing or lying on feces, which release ammonia fumes that injure their lungs. We took temperatures inside pig transport trucks as they stopped at the long lights at Lakeshore and Strachan before the trucks head to 677 Wellington Street West to Quality Meat Packers (QMP), where the pigs are unloaded with rattle paddles and electric prods (instruments of torture, even more brutal in the lacerating heat).

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Pig Wish Tribute for pigs and their saviours everywhere by Joanne O’Keefe.

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Confrontation at Quality Meat Packers slaughterhouse over frost-bitten and hypothermic pigs

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Toronto Pig Save activists bear witness of frost-bitten and hypothermic pigs in transport truck en route to Quality Meat Packers pig slaughterhouse. The actual temperature is -5 degrees Celsius and -10 degrees with windchill, but on the highway it feels closer to -30 degrees Celsius for the pigs in the transport trucks travelling at 80 km/hour.

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Baby lamb #200 stumbles and baa’s at (Un)Royal (Un)Fair’s slave auction

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On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, “The Market Lamb and Market Kid Auction” included the sale of #200 lamb, who was born less than two months ago in mid-September and weighed only 50 pounds. The bids occur in dollars per pound, underlining how these animals are viewed as mere objects and property by the “sellers” and “buyers”.

The buyer for lamb #200 was Mister Greek Meat Market butcher shop located at 801 Danforth. The tiny lamb was herded into one of two pens labeled “Mr. Greek” [should have been labeled “Mister Greek Meat Market”] with a dozen other lambs and goats before being destined to Windcrest Meat Packers slaughterhouse in Port Perry.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair’s “2011 Market Lamb Sale Catalogue” states: “Purchasers of live animals will be responsible for pick up and delivery of their purchases to the slaughter plant of their choice immediately following the sale.”

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Trixie: “Imagine no slaughterhouses” at Veggie Dog giveaway event in front of Quality Meat Packers

On Labour Day (Monday Sept 5, 2011), Toronto Pig Save, TARVS and other compassionate groups held a veggie dog giveaway across from Quality Meat Packers pig slaughterhouse in Stanley Park at 700 Wellington Street, Toronto.

Chalk artist Jo Lalonde drew a stunning rendition of Trixie – a three-legged pig rescued by Susan Morris at Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary in Uxbridge, Ontario.

Toronto Pig Save along with other animal rights groups decided to take back the neighbourhood and show what is possible in a residential area overshadowed by the QMP pig slaughterhouse.

TPS is promoting an alternative vision for the neighbourhood. In place of a pig slaughterhouse, TPS is advocating for a just transition for workers on Labour Day – safe, fulfilling, and meaningful jobs needed to support a food economy that is local, organic, and whole grain and plant based (that is, vegan).

The program included chalk art, music, pig puppets, story telling, and face painting for kids:

• Jo Lalonde, chalk artist, will draw Trixie on sidewalk, Susan Morris’s adopted three-legged pig featured on the event poster
• Josh Wilkinson of Dream Awake 12-1pm
• Caitlin Black will present a puppetry skit as well as dedicate a blue rose for the pig who tried to escape QMP this summer
• Videos presented by TARVS
• a vegan deserts table hosted by Nadia Fresolone of Omega Creations
• silent auction including lovely cloth pigs made by Jennifer DeMers, cooking classes by Know Thy Foods, and cuddly photos of Cleo (Tracey’s rescued pig who acts as a surrogate for abandoned kittens) and kitten donated by Tracey Shepherd-Davis, animal rescuer (former slaughterhouse worker)
• storytelling, music, face painting, making paper cup snouts to wear, and more
See the event flyer
The mission of Toronto Pig Save is to “make slaughterhouses have glass walls,” including QMP, Toronto’s downtown pig slaughterhouse. QMP kills 7,000 pigs a day – that is, 35,000 pigs a week! This efficient industrialization of mass killings is grossly unjust for the pigs and the workers alike. Toronto Pig Save is an animal rights, pro-labour group in support of a just transition towards a food economy that is organic, local, whole-grain, and plant-based – that is, vegan.

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Animal Rescuer Tracey Shepherd-Davis (a former slaughterhouse worker at Maple Leaf in Burlington) happily breaks bread with her rescued pig Cookie and kitten.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 during Toronto’s heat wave: Pigs in transport trucks on the way to Quality Meat Packers, Lakeshore and Strachan in Toronto.   Temperature outside truck was 38C plus humidity. The first pig has a bruised and bleeding face – including snout. Many pigs panting, having a hard time breathing.

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Pigs hot, dehydrated, and injured at Toronto’s Quality Meat Packers on hot and humid day at 4 pm, July 12, 2011

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On June 21, 2011, Peta and a couple dozen of animal rights supporters held a solemn and subdued protest outside Toronto’s Quality Meat Packers’ pig slaughterhouse at 2 Tecumseth.

The QMP pig slaughterhouse is situated in the downtown core, just southwest of King and Bathurst. Up to 6,000 pigs are killed each day at the site and dozens of transport trucks full of weary and fearful pigs can be seen on week days on Lakeshore and Strauchan just before they turn off towards 677 Wellington Street West, where you can hear the pigs screaming from the sidewalk as they are being unloaded from the trucks with electric prods.

Asked what she would see if there were glass walls at the Quality Meat Packers’ slaughterhouse, Peta activist Kate Steen said “I think you would see your worst nightmare, your worst horror movie in real life because that’s what it’s like behind those walls. Just like Paul McCartney said, ‘If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everybody would be a vegetarian.’ As a human beings we’re supposed to feel love and caring for other human beings but also for other animals and if people actually knew how meat got onto their plate, there’s no way as a human being with a soul that you’d be able to eat those animals. It’s not right and you shouldn’t be able to do it.”

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Investigator Twyla Francois exposes the practice of tooth breaking and boar bashing in Canada

Investigator Twyla Francois speaks on the horrific practice of tooth cutting and boar bashing at the ‘Thinking About Animals” conference at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, on March 31, 2011. Based on her investigative studies, Twyla Francois reported on the common practice of tooth cutting and boar bashing at Canadian pig holding stations and auctions before boars are transported for slaughter.

These torturous practices take place as a way of saving money for the animal agriculture industry. Transport regulations require that all boars be segregated on transport so that they do not fight one another. Instead of putting up metal dividers to separate the boars, haulers save money by ensuring that boars loaded on together suffer such great pain that they will not fight one another even if packed in tightly together without dividers. Twyla says the boars she has seen on transport trucks “cower in pain.”

Two things, says Twyla, are done to boars to cause them great pain: (1) tooth breaking and (2) boar bashing. After spending their lives in crates (just as sows do), boars used for semen have their teeth broken just before they are sent to slaughter. Bolt cutters are used to cut directly into the innervated tooth canal and shatter the tooth up to the gum line, causing extreme suffering. Secondly, workers at holding stations and auctions break the boar’s noses with a baseball bat or crow bar. Though this second practice is illegal, Twyla says every boar she has seen in transport since 2005 has been bashed. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has refused to enforce any of the cases of boar bashing she has brought before the government regulators.

For more info, see Francois’ 2007 report “Investigation of Boar Bashing, Teeth Breaking and Snout Cutting at Ottawa Livestock Exchange (formerly Leo’s Livestock Exchange Ltd.) and Investigation of Slaughterhouses that accept these boars: Hebert & Fils and Viandes Giroux.” It is available on-line. Video production by Anita Krajnc for rabbletv

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Novelist Barbara Gowdy launches PSAs for rabble.ca’s Vegan Challenge for Earth Week

Barbara Gowdy introduces a series of public service announcements urging people and especially those who “live in their imagination” to participate in rabble.ca’s Vegan Challenge for Earth Week. She challenges participants who take the Vegan Challenge for a week to imagine what it is like to be an animal raised for meat or to spend one’s life as a pig in a crate.

“As someone who makes here living as a writer and living in her imagination, I’d like to challenge everybody who lives in his or her imagination to take the Vegan Challenge and become a vegan for just a week. During that week, try and think about what it would be like to be raised as meat, what it would be like never to feel the sun on your head, the wind in your hair, to be caged, have no comprehension whatsoever of why this is happening to you, to not be able to have any social life with your fellow species, to live a life of relentless pain.”

The PSA is accompanied by dramatic photos of pigs with wounds from electric prods in transport truck taken by Canada’s chief investigator Twyla Francois of www.cefta.org. The PSA also shows images of sad and sickly pigs confined in crates in factory farms taken by renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur of www.WeAnimals.org. In an interview, Jo-Anne McArthur said, “Most of our meat is produced through factory farming.” Her photographs relay an accurate portrayal of a pig’s life in the confinement of a farm. “Pigs can spend several years of their short lives in gestation crates, where they are only able to stand up and lie down. One can only imagine the stress caused by a lifetime of confinement without light or nature, living on a cement floor. The ethics of how to treat sentient beings is overlooked for the sake of profit and satisfying public demand for inexpensive meat.”

For more information about the Vegan Challenge, visit rabble.ca’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196812497019632 or see rabble’s blog http://www.rabble.ca/blog/24 Register at the Toronto Vegetarian Association to receive daily tips and helpful information for the one-week or four-week Vegan Challenge http://veg.ca/content/view/1063/72/

Photos by Twyla Francois of Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals www.cefta.org. Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals www.WeAnimals.org and Iven Simonetti www.iveno.de. Interview by Anita Krajnc and Iven Simonetti. Video production by Anita Krajnc for rabbletv

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Canadian sows en route to US slaughterhouse. Video by Twyla Francois, investigator for Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals

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rabbletv | 05 September 2010 |

Toronto Vegetarian Association’s first-ever support local farm sanctuaries trot-a-thon fundraiser on Aug. 21, 2010, began at Christie Pitts and headed towards Panacea Vegan Eco-Shop and then back to the park for a delicious and bountiful vegan potluck lunch and raffle.

Holly Larson, a member of the organizing committee of the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Support Local Farm Sanctuaries campaign www.veg.ca/santuaries, says: “In order to support the great work being done by farmed-animal sanctuaries in Ontario, TVA has joined forces with Animal Outreach www.animaloutreach.ca — a London, Ontario nonprofit group whose mission is to provide shelter and care for abandoned, neglected, unwanted, injured and abused domesticated animals, including farm animals… Together with TVA’s work in advocacy of a plant-based diet, and the local farm sanctuaries’ work saving farm animals, we can educate the public about the plight of farm animals and how choosing a cruelty-free diet is the most compassionate choice.”

Interviews with:
*Ken Bontius, owner of Panacea Vegan Eco-Shop www.panaceaecoshop.com
*Sherry Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary, Kenilworth, Ontario www.rubyranch.ca
*Susan Morris, founder of Snooters Farm Animal Sanctuary, Uxbridge, Ontario www.snootersforeverhome.com

Video production and interviews by Anita Krajnc for rabbletv

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rabbletv | 10 June 2010 |

Hundreds participated in Canada’s first Veggie Pride Parade on June 5, 2010. The parade featured everything from burlesque dancers to firefighters, a policeman (dressed as a very cute pig), singer-songwriter Loganberry (“Veggie Pride”), Grupo Axé Capoeira, Bollywood dancers along with about two dozen animal rights groups.

The Toronto Veggie Pride Parade, a nonprofit group founded in 2009 by Toronto animal activist Holly Larson, was inspired by similar parades held in New York, LA, and Rome. The Veggie Pride Parade’s MC is Kimberly Carroll. For more information, visit: http://veggieprideparade.ca/2010/

Interviews and video production: Anita Krajnc for rabbletv