Many vegans are feeling gutted right now, after the horrific incident in Burlington on Wednesday, Oct. 5 when a truck carrying more than 100 piglets tipped over, injuring many but of course resulting in the deaths of all.
I wrote this on Facebook and it was shared and liked many times:
This is an update for my friends who may not be in the same vegan circles as I am, seeing all the updates, on the Burlington pig truck tip-over…
The pigs are all dead now. Of course, they would have died anyway as they were en route to be slaughtered. But a number of them were injured which means they cannot be rendered for meat. Steve Jenkins from Esther the Wonder Pig Sanctuary traveled to the scene and he – along with others – pleaded to be allowed to take some of these injured pigs into sanctuary.
They were ignored, and then before their eyes the pigs were shot with bolt guns and left to bleed out before being tossed in the garbage, including these ones.
It would have cost the perpetrators nothing to allow these pigs a chance at life, but instead they chose to kill them and literally throw their bodies away.
Science shows that pigs are smarter than dogs. Not that it should matter, since as a society we don’t kill other humans who are lesser intellectually. But my point is, they’re not empty vessels who don’t know what’s going on. And maybe you can relate to a dog’s capacity for thought and feeling better than a pig’s.
I’ve met quite a few pigs during my visits to sanctuaries and they’re adorable. Check out Ester – her page is linked above. They don’t deserve this just so we can have bacon.
Please, consider if the industries that profit from the killing of individuals are the kind that you want to give your money to.
If you want to make a change, reach out. There are people who can help you, and resources readily available. You’re not alone.
The question now, for many, is what can we do to stop this? Many people feel helpless and feel like they need to do SOMETHING to make a difference.
Unfortunately this isn’t going to be something we can change overnight, as unjust and horrific as it is. Eating meat and using animals as commodities is deeply ingrained in our society. It’s hard to reach the realization that there isn’t one single thing we can do that will directly lead to the end of using animals. We need to systematically dismantle it by creating a new narrative, and a new normal.
I believe that there are small things that each of us can do – in addition to going vegan – that will help us reach the point where we are no longer seen as weird and radical. Unfortunately, there are very few people who are willing to do things that will see them socially ostracized. We need to overcome the barriers that people have when it comes to veganism so that:
- Veganism is perceived as accessible by most people
- Veganism is seen as aspirational, rather than punishing
- People feel supported in their efforts to become vegan, rather than socially isolated
- People have access to concrete resources and information about the practical HOW-TOs around becoming vegan
- People are able to find, buy and prepare vegan food as easily as they can the alternatives
Not everyone feels comfortable using every tactic, but perhaps from the following list you can find some things that you can do to channel your energy towards creating a more vegan world:
- When you share information about what’s happening to animals, try to avoid language that will raise people’s defensiveness. Be firm and straightforward, but avoid insults and hyperbole. Once someone turns away from us, it’s hard to get them to turn back and listen – let alone to change their behaviour.
- Speak about veganism like it’s perfectly normal. Don’t apologize for being vegan. Don’t feel like you have to give non-vegans a pass – “it’s okay”, or “it’s your choice” – Don’t be rude, but also don’t accept their status quo so readily. It’s the “normalcy” that gives these things their power.
- And remember, it’s not vegans who are “forcing their views” on society.
- Support restaurants and businesses that provide vegan food and services. Tell people about them. Buy your holiday gifts for your friends and family from these companies.
- Tell restaurants and businesses that don’t have vegan options – or that have limited options – how to introduce more vegan options. I’ve written a 25 page ebook on exactly how to do this. It’s currently licensed to the National Capital Vegetarian Association. Email them and ask them for it – email@example.com
- Show people how to create vegan versions of non-vegan favourites. Make them FOR people. Feed them to those people.
- Proactively offer to help people. Meet them where they are. Ask what are their barriers, and help them to find solutions.
- Praise people for the positive steps that they take. Effusively.
- Hold a vegan potluck or dinner party for your friends and family – even if they aren’t vegan. Offer to plan one for your local veg association.
- Share the articles, photographs, events, and other work of local vegan advocates who are trying to make a difference. Maybe you can’t find the words, but they can.
- Donate money to vegan organizations that are systematically working towards improving the lives of animals. (Maybe not PeTA. ) Support and share their fundraisers.
- Adopt an animal.
- Volunteer to help out at a farm sanctuary, or an animal shelter. Volunteer with your local vegetarian/vegan association – often these groups are starved for volunteers and could do so much more outreach if they had more help.
- Take care of your mental health so you can be a strong advocate for animals.
- If you’re in Ottawa, share my directory, Vegan Eats Ottawa so people know where they can eat out.
Advocates, I want to hear your ideas: What other ways do YOU channel your energy to create a more vegan world?
Get Pamela Tourigny’s Five Favourite Smoothies when you sign up for the Vegan Eats Ottawa newsletter here. Pamela is an Ottawa-based expert on the topics of veganism and vegan advocacy, sustainability, and ethical consumerism. She also consults with business clients with their marketing, communications and public relations needs, and with restaurants on adapting their menus to introduce plant-based options.
A Few Resources for Vegan Information:
Ottawa Specific – Vegan Eats Ottawa