The Face of Bacon

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On a lovely sunny day in the middle of the countryside, I found myself staring at around 50 filth-covered pigs in the face, through the dirty bars of a huge truck. These pigs were destined for the slaughter house I was standing outside. Twenty-one of us were standing vigil, bearing witness to the last moments of the short lives of these poor creatures.

This pig was very inquisitive. He had one brown eye and one blue eye. Credit: James Howlett

This masochistic sounding event is actually part of a movement called The Save Movement. It is a form of peaceful protest, where activists get up close to the victims of the meat industry: the animals. By filming the animals and offering whatever comfort they can, they hope to spread awareness to the fact that these animals that are killed for their meat are not unfeeling machines. They hope to show that these animals feel pain, suffering, joy, and sadness.

We stood vigil for the whole day outside Cheale Meats. Each time a truck went into the compound we held a two minutes silence (it just feels like the right thing to do). Underpinning each silence was the screaming. Even the police officers looked a bit sheepish at this point.

Overlooking the whole event was the sense of desperation and the lack of power we as individuals had to stop this from happening. However, the point of the Save is to raise awareness of the plight of these animals. You sure won’t read about it on a Big Mac box otherwise.

The first truck approached the abattoir at 7am. There would be six more over the course of the day. Credit: James Howlett

After the third truck came I broke down in tears. I felt an infinite amount of sadness for these poor guys. At six months old they have only seen the inside of a shed up to now: the day they will die. They were innocent and had done nothing to deserve this fate.

People say that veganism is extreme. But is not wanting to kill animals extreme? Especially when they are only killed because they taste nice. We can get everything we need to thrive on a plantbased diet.

If you think that this piece is vegan ‘propaganda’, then I encourage you, next time you see a Mcdonalds (or Burger King, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Tesco, Subway, Ben and Jerrys) advert to acknowledge how much propaganda actually comes the other way.

I won’t forget the guys I saw here. They are just a handful of the 6000 pigs that are killed here every week. We may not be able to save any of the pigs at these saves, but hopefully, through sharing pictures and videos of these beautiful chaps, we can encourage people to see what happened behind their plate of food and consider going vegan.

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Part time engineer, part time animal activist.

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