BEARING WITNESS

When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.” – Leo Tolstoy, from A Calendar of Wisdom

 

Bearing witness is being present in the face of injustice and trying to help. Tolstoy says we all have a duty to bear witness.

One of the key ways of encouraging people to fully identify with the plight of pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and other enslaved animals is to bear witness of their suffering.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to bear witness of the suffering of animals and to intervene to create a respectful, nonviolent vegan society. As painful as it may seem to initiate a campaign to bear witness, it is actually empowering when done as a group. The paradox of painful yet meaningful and empowering aspects of bearing witness was captured perfectly by Vivikananda in the 19th century:

“But my heart has grown much, much larger, and I have learnt to feel [the suffering of others]” -Vivikananda

 

The Animal Save Movement is comprised of groups around the world who bear witness to pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals en route to slaughter. Our goals are to raise awareness about the plight of farmed animals, to help people become vegan, and to build a mass-based, grassroots animal justice movement. The Animal Save Movement started in December 2010 with the inception of Toronto Pig Save after an adopted dog, Mr. Bean, put us in touch with our community and the pig slaughterhouse which existed at the heart of downtown Toronto. The aim is to have a vigil at every slaughterhouse. In 2019, there are over 700 Animal Save groups worldwide.

ANIMAL VIGILS

Vigils are peaceful community gatherings at a site of injustice such as a slaughterhouse, an auction, live market or animal agricultural farm.

We give the animals love and compassion and we document the horrific injustice that is being inflicted upon them. The animal agriculture industry thrives on secrecy. Through bearing witness, we shine a spotlight on the appalling truth in order to raise awareness to the general public and help break the disconnect. Bearing witness has a profound effect on our attitude and actions towards these sentient beings; it is a life-changing experience for many attendees. To feel their suffering and see these unique individual lives strengthen our resolve to end this unspeakable cruelty and gross injustice.

Vigil location

If there is more than one slaughterhouse in your community, consider the accessibility of the slaughterhouse, whether the surroundings present opportunities for community organizing, the visibility of the vigils for purposes of vegan outreach, and safety issues. In choosing the site for the vigil, it is good to consider the entrance to the slaughterhouse as well as nearby traffic lights where trucks stop so you can safely bear witness.

Building your group

It is critical to have a commitment to hold regular vigils. A regular presence in front of slaughterhouse. We recommend holding weekly, biweekly or monthly vigils at the same times. A regular presence in front of the slaughterhouse will enable the community to become familiar with the events and help your group recruit new attendees. Special vigils are also important too highlight gross injustices and to build attendance. These include all day vigils, five-day vigils, and vigils for emergencies such as heat alerts, barn fires and truck rollovers.

EXPAND THE ANIMAL SAVE NETWORK

In the Animal Save Movement we regularly bear witness of sad and frightened animals on transport trucks and at slaughterhouses, live markets, and factory farms. We encourage you to bear witness of animals sent to slaughter in your own community. Find out if there is a Save group near you (map of Save groups) or consider starting a Save group. We’ll help you with tips, resources, and support.

One of our missions is to expand the existence of save groups and vigils into every community worldwide which have slaughterhouses, factory farms, enslaved mammal auction houses, or a route used by transport trucks. We agree with Paul McCartney: If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everybody would be vegan and an animal activist! We have thousands of members on Facebook from across the globe. We welcome interest from individuals like you, and hope to inspire you to start a save group wherever you live to make slaughterhouses have glass walls as well as to show the peaceful and just alternatives: forever homes at farm sanctuaries and a just transition to a nonviolent, whole grain, plant based, that is – vegan – society.

One of the key ways of encouraging people to fully identify with the plight of pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and other enslaved animals is to bear witness of their suffering.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to bear witness of the suffering of animals and to intervene to create a respectful, nonviolent vegan society. As painful as it may seem to initiate a campaign to bear witness, it is actually empowering when done as a group. The paradox of painful yet meaningful and empowering aspects of bearing witness was captured perfectly by Vivikananda in the 19th century:

GET INSPIRED

We are here to assist you with your commitment to help save and rescue enslaved mammals and other animals. The Animal Save Movement would like to play a supportive role should you require helpful tips, ideas, and material assistance. We would like to provide you with some basic tools to get started with a Save group in your area. Together, we can make a difference and help to close down all slaughterhouses defacing the Earth and expand the network of sanctuaries to cover the entire planet.

By collectively bearing witness and intervening on a large scale, the horror that we feel regarding the “animal emergency” involving billions of farmed animals and threats to wild species will be reversed as we move towards a critical mass which will enable us to turn the tide and create one big sanctuary on the entire Earth.