The Save Movement started in December 2010 with the creation of Toronto Pig Save. Today there are over 330 groups, with new ones forming every week who bear witness of pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals en route to slaughter.
This week Veganuary spoke with one of the founders of Manchester Pig Save, Chris Foott, to talk about the rapid growth of the Save Movement:
The UK Save Movement is growing faster than ever before. Veganism is on the rise and creating more activists who are horrified at the way we treat animals. Attending vigils is something anyone can get involved with to help bring public awareness to what’s happening, but also offer the animals comfort in these traumatic settings.
How it started
Our first vigils were very different to what happens today. At first the trucks refused to stop and wouldn’t allow us to bear witness to the animals. We tried asking politely, but they were very wary of us and our motives. In the end we had to forcibly stop the trucks. Now we have an agreement with the drivers to allow us a few minutes with the pigs before they go to slaughter.
Chris describes how each animal reacts differently to their presence:
Some animals look at you like they’ve given up hope. Especially the pigs. These intelligent beings seem to show more awareness. They’ve often given up. Sometimes you’ll make eye contact with one of them and there’s a connection. I’ll often stay with one individual for several minutes, just staring into one another’s eyes. It’s heartbreaking.
Chris talks about the cows he’s seen as ‘quiet gentle giants‘. ‘To me they are the hardest to bear witness to, they can smell blood from 6 miles away. You can feel their fear.‘
When asked about the conditions of the chickens, Chris explains:
It’s hard to grasp the sheer numbers of chickens crammed into the trucks.’Thousands! They’re squashed in so tightly that many have their feet torn off. In Canada and the US, I’ve witnessed chickens nearest the edges of the truck freeze to death and those on the inside die from the heat. The industry call these birds ‘dead stock’ – it’s common practice for many of the chickens not to survive the journey to the slaughterhouse.
Moments of joy
A few lucky animals have been rescued by the Save Movement. One of the fortunate ones is Lily the Mother Goat. Lily was rescued from a slaughterhouse by the Save Movement in Canada.
Chris also shared his experiences with those who work for the slaughterhouse:
The truck drivers know us now. They know we’re not there to cause trouble or hassle them. We actually chat with them and offer them vegan food to try. One of them loved a Tofurky hot dog we gave him – he said it was the best he’d ever had! We also talk to the security guards who are contracted to protect the slaughterhouse. More often than not, they’re disgusted by what we tell them. One company was so appalled they actually refused to work there.
There may not be hope for many of these animals, but you can change the fate of their children. For them, for our environment, and for you, try vegan with us today.