Toronto Pig Save have been flooding my twitter feed the past few days with regards to the Fearmans incident when a truck full of 180 pigs overturned killing 40 0f them. I chose to watch a video shared by Bite Size Vegan. I’m glad I did. I think.
I’d settled in for my 6pm ‘Dinnerdate’ fix perhaps somewhat ironically, and instead scrolling down my phone, I watched something that was much more important.
I realise in my last post I said that I’d rather not witness non-humans being marched to their deaths. But that verb ‘marched’ keeps standing out to me. It reminds me of the war. How people were defined as a collective to be culled. And the ones who culled them; the cold, callous product of social conditioning. You can’t do that and not be f*cked up somehow; whether its human, pigs or cows.
Since watching this video I’ve realised even as a vegan how much I shut out the pain, torture and apathy I know is involved before a rasher of bacon is dished up on a friends plate or a slice of wafer ham is plucked from a packet and stuffed between slices of bread for my nephew’s sandwich. Even I am plagued with cognitive dissonance. Sometimes I force myself to think about the hunk of steak on my brothers plate as the piece of flesh from a once breathing, seeing, feeling mammal. It lasts a few seconds before I remember that I love my brother and it’s ‘just ’cause he doesn’t really know.’ Or maybe I just don’t want to think about it.
I feel like if omnivores, or even one of my family were reading this, they might scoff.
And occasionally, just occasionally I’ll wonder what if that were totally reasonable? Am I overreacting? And then I’m flooded with guilt and realisation of how horribly conditioned even I’ve been and maybe still am a little.
How can something that’s not about my immediate loved ones or other human suffering have such an impact on my feelings? The answer is in that video.
The video is hard to watch from beginning to end. The squeals from the overturned lorry are excruciating to hear and admittedly I was relieved when it was cut. What makes it worse are the passive reactions of the workers as the cacophony of pain and desperation sounds from the mesh confines of the overturned lorry.
I will remember that brief moment of comfort between the two surviving pigs, probably the most poignant of their short existence, before their captors brutally murder them.
If that weren’t bad enough, they’re then deposited in a dumpster because they’re ‘unfit for consumption.’
They didn’t even need to die.
There were plenty of bystanders offering to take the pigs unconditionally in the name of sheer love and compassion. Instead the two men ignore the cries of compassion, disbelief, and desperation to witness just a shred of humanity, and carry on for no fathomable reason other than there’s no room in their minds for any kind of deviation from gain or process.
Why do we get to decide the fate of another?
Why do humans think they have the right? They think it because it’s how they’ve been brought up to think. Because. Because humans invented the word because.
Watching this video has given me the courage to be more vocal about my reasons for being vegan. It’s going to be harder now to see people nonchalantly spearing flesh onto their forks as they talk to me. I just hope that I can find a way to relinquish the anger wisely and effectively; with hope rather than with defeat.