You can download our Guidebook for Starting a Save Group here: PDF.
Bearing witness is being present in the face of injustice and trying to help. Tolstoy defined the duty to bear witness in the following way:
“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.”
– Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom
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.
The Save Movement began in December 2010 with Toronto Pig 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. By the summer of 2018, there were well over 400 groups in about 50 countries worldwide. The aim is to have a vigil at every slaughterhouse.
Vigils are peaceful community gatherings at a site of injustice such as a slaughterhouse, an auction, live market or animal agricultural farm.
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.
We use a love-based community-organizing approach and develop team leadership in order to build a grassroots animal justice movement based on the principles of animal equality and freedom. Our love-based approach to community organizing is informed by Leo Tolstoy (A Calendar of Wisdom, The Kingdom of God is Within You and other writings on nonviolence, love and truth), and the campaigns of Gandhi, King, Chavez, Lois Gibbs and other community organizers. See reference list at end of booklet.
With some exceptions, most animal activists have not always been vegan. At some point almost all of us have been in the same position and frame of mind as the people we now try to educate about animal rights/veganism. When having a conversation, try to put yourself in their shoes and see the situation from their point of view – maybe one you used to hold yourself. With this in mind, you can better form a compassionate and informative response that may change their perspective.
If someone asks you a genuine question, no matter how many times you’ve heard it (e.g. Where do you get your protein?), always say, “Good question”/”I used to wonder about that, too.” Chances are we were all in that person’s position at some point, with a similar question. By validating the person’s question, you are more likely to have your response received and considered, rather than coming off as condescending and perhaps being ignored.
* Quotes taken from Leo Tolstoy’s A Calendar of Wisdom
Always respond to hatred with kindness.
The best and easiest way to thwart evil in this world is to respond to it with kind words, return an evil action with good.
If you know the truth, or if you think that you know the truth, try to pass it on to the others, as simply as you can, along with the feeling of love for those persons to whom you pass it.
For a truth to be heard, it must be spoken with kindness. Truth is kind only when it is spoken through your heart with sincerity. You should know that when a message you convey to another person is not understood by him, at least one of the following things is true: what you said is not true, or you have conveyed it without kindness.
“If you notice someone in error, then correct this person and his mistake in a humble way. If he does not listen to you, blame yourself only; or, even better, do not blame anybody, but continue to be humble.”
How not to blame
When you make an effort not to blame other people, your life becomes much easier, but very few people make this small effort.
“It is not the blaming of evil but the glorifying of goodness that creates harmony in our life.”
If you think that it is necessary to judge your neighbor, then say this looking directly into his eyes, and say this in such a way that you do not create animosity.
Compassion expressed in response to rage is the same as water for fire. When you are in a rage, try to feel compassion for the other person, and then your rage will disappear.
–After Arthur Schopenhauer
The Save Movement uses the strategy of bearing witness to animals in their final moments as they approach slaughterhouses, live markets and auctions. We use a love-based community-organizing approach based on non violence, love and truth as informed by Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi. We advocate veganism and activism, namely the idea that everyone has the duty to bear witness. We also have a zero tolerance approach to animal exploitation.
It is important that all groups affiliated with the Save group follow these guiding principles and operate under a code of conduct as set out below. It is also crucial that key organizers of each location adhere to these principles in interactions both on social media and in person with other vegans, vigil attendees, police, security, slaughterhouse workers and all members of the public.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Our aims are to show love and compassion to animals in their final moments and raise awareness of their wrongful and unnecessary suffering and exploitation.
This code of conduct aims to give clear guidelines to vigil attendees.
The Save Movement (TSM) wants to ensure:
A welcoming, peaceful and safe environment for all those who attend.
No increase of anxiety or stress to the animals to whom we bear witness.
The principles of TSM are upheld.
When attending vigils, please adhere to the following:
At all times be mindful to keep a safe distance from the trucks when they are in motion, especially when they are turning.
Listen to, and respect the instructions of any TSM marshals who are there to ensure the safety of vigil attendees.
Respect the boundaries of any coned areas implemented by TSM to ensure safety.
Refrain from any violent, loud or threatening behaviour either verbal or physical towards slaughterhouse workers, security, police or truck drivers and members of the public.
Minimize loud noises or shouting in the presence of animals so as not to heighten their anxiety or stress. Do not use megaphones in close proximity to trucks. Approach them slowly with love and respect.
Respect other vigil attendees. We are all there for the animals and to build the animal rights community.
Non compliance of the above or disrespectful behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated and we may ask individuals persistently violating the principles to leave the vigil. *
Attending vigils can be an incredibly emotive and cathartic experience. These guidelines are not designed to limit personal expression. However, safety and respect for both the animals and each other is a key priority. *Please note we accept that from time to time breeches of these guidelines may occur. The important thing is to always be striving towards upholding these ideal principles at all times. It is the duty and responsibility of all those who attend to ensure a safe and peaceful vigil experience for the group as a whole. If you feel someone is not adhering to these guidelines, please inform a TSM marshal or email email@example.com.
Above all, stay safe, stay mindful, and stay committed to those who need us to hear their voice.
The Save Movement operates under a grassroots, love-based community organising approach. No one person is in charge as in a hierarchy, rather we have a team of leaders. Every action we take is on behalf of the animals and building an animal rights community. It is key for all organizers to accept and embrace this philosophy. Personal ego must be set aside. Be mindful that during all interactions, on social media, email and in person, you are a representative of TSM.
TSM organizers and activists must accept this concept and adhere to the following:
Welcome and encourage members expressing a desire to take a more active role and nurture leadership in others.
Refrain from posting inflammatory content on social media. Please do not post negative comments about any individual or group. Rather we strive to be role models in the approach we pursue.
Be mindful of our love based approach at all times. Do not use overly negative, offensive or hateful adjectives when corresponding with others.
Absolutely do not engage in personal feuds or conflicts with other organizers, activists or members of the public in person or on social media. We want The Save Movement to be a unifying and mobilizing force.
Please set aside any personal differences with other members whilst conducting any TSM activity including but not limited to attending or organizing vigils.
We advocate veganism and animal rights as an imperative. We do however address animal welfare if violations are spotted. Please report any incidents to the appropriate agency in order to put a spotlight on the industry.
Avoid being overly critical of other groups for their approach, e.g., PETA, Mercy For Animals, etc. All styles of activism have a place and may be effective to different personalities.
Do not block people on social media or delete comments that raise objections or differing points of view. Only offensive, hate speech or repetitive negativity should be deleted.
Work as a team, make joint, not unilateral decisions. Listen and consider all points of view.
Please do not make vigils private events. We want to encourage as many people as possible to attend.
Create events under the relevant Save Movement page, not on personal accounts.
Respond to negativity with positivity, love for hate.
Offer compassion and support to anyone in the group experiencing trauma or being emotionally overwhelmed at the vigil.
Be mindful at all times that we are organizing for and on behalf of the animals and to build an animal rights community.
Please ensure vigils and all events hosted under The Save Movement are alcohol free.
Tag @thesavemovement on social media posts for sharing purposes.
CHECKLIST FOR STARTING A SAVE
Go to our www.TheSaveMovement.org website to check if there is a Save group in your area. If there isn’t a group in your area consider starting a new Save group.
Review this handbook and read the memo of understanding and code of conduct.
If you accept these terms then contact The Save Movement at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with your regional and international liaisons to arrange for a call.
Find other activists by researching animal rights and vegan groups in your area
Research slaughterhouses in your area
o Scout the slaughterhouses to find the schedule for the arrival of the trucks and the best location to hold a vigil (for example, at the front of the slaughterhouse or at an intersection where the trucks stop)
Research current laws to learn about your legal rights to hold vigils and do activism
Work with the Save graphics team to get logo, signs and leaflets
Set up social media accounts (FB, IG, Twitter)
Partner with other animal rights groups
Checklist for first vigil
Create FB event page for the vigil and create an IG post advertising the vigil
o Invite all your friends to join you at the vigils
o Send out a media advisory
o Prepare signs, banners and vegan outreach materials
o Prepare an introductory script covering the code of conduct, bearing witness and safety
o Livestream from vigils
o Take a group shot and tag everyone to help spread the word on social media
What to do at a vigil
Be calm. Be present. Be safe. Bearing witness is an extremely powerful experience.
When approaching trucks bring a calm and love-based energy. Exercise discretion when engaging with and touching the animals; don’t scare them. Make eye contact with the victims, connect with them. It could be you on that truck. Consider spending time with one animal to allow a meaningful connection. Resist the temptation to see every animal on the truck.
Bearing witness repeatedly. No two animals are the same. Every time you bear witness you meet an individual with his or her own personality. Offer water to the animals in hot temperatures. Document animal abuse such as dead or severely dehydrated animals. Please use hand sanitizer provided after touching the animals.
When interacting with pedestrians, drivers, slaughterhouse workers, and police, speak with respect, even if they do not respect you. We are there to promote peace. Resist temptation to react or respond to provocation from drivers or employees in a negative manner. Channel sadness or anger into love-based determination to do more.
Safety is of paramount importance to the Save Movement. Vigils at slaughterhouses are by their very nature, high risk industrial environments. It is imperative therefore that all Save groups make safety a main priority. Vigils can often be very tense, hectic and emotionally charged. It is vital that people stay calm and focused on the potential dangers of the environment, as well as remembering why we are there – for the animals.
Organizers should ensure a welcoming and peaceful environment is the norm at every vigil:
o We suggest having ‘welcoming circles’ at the start of vigils both to welcome new attendees and also to set the tone of the vigil and to go over the code of conduct and safety protocols.
o We highly recommend that high-visibility reflective safety vests are available for all vigil attendees.
o Assign safety marshals at each vigils to take the responsibility of ensuring safety, especially when bearing witness. These safety marshals can also indicate the end of any agreed period of a stopped truck and give instruction to back away from the trucks. Ask that attendees listen to and respect the instructions of any Save Movement marshals who are there to ensure the safety of vigil attendees. Respect the boundaries of any coned areas implemented by marshals to ensure safety.
o Ask attendees to not climb upon trucks.
o Consider your positioning to bear witness, some locations are safer than others. Are there traffic lights where the trucks would have to stop close to the slaughterhouse? Is there a parking lot that could be used for the group gathering, rather than waiting on narrow sidewalks?
o At all times, be mindful to keep a safe distance from the trucks when they are in motion, especially when they are turning.
o Consider having signs or placards made that ask the truck drivers to stop for three minutes or convey our reasons for being there. Eg. ‘No hate for truckers, we are here for the animals.’ Often simple communication like this can be the difference between trucks drivers approaching dangerously or actually voluntarily stopping and allowing us to bear witness.
o Refrain from excessive shouting as this can affect the tone of the vigil and also cause distress to the animals.
o Ensure vigil attendees do not react negatively to any taunts or aggressive behaviour from workers or members of the public. This can increase tension and thus decrease the overall safety of the vigil. Instead ask that everyone return love for hate. We use a love-based community-organizing approach based on non violence, love and truth as informed by Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi. With that in mind, ensure any interactions with slaughterhouse workers or police are calm and love-based. If other groups are in attendance, ensure they are aware in advance of our love-based approach.
o If you feel someone is acting in an unsafe manner, please inform a Save Movement marshal of their behaviour.
It is crucial to remember that safety as well as all aspects of the vigil experience is an evolving process. It can be nurtured and developed in either a positive or negative direction. By being mindful of the points above we are confident that the vigil experience can be a positive and welcoming one for all concerned. Each vigil should be viewed as a fresh opportunity to move safety in the right direction and improve on the previous vigil. Never be complacent.
It’s often difficult to know what to do once your save group is in place. “Do I call the slaughterhouse?” “Do I call the police?” “Do I email them both?” “Do I contact one but not the other?” Or “Do I leave it all together?” Although you are not legally obligated to contact either the police or the slaughterhouse, it is certainly courteous to contact the slaughterhouse. We recommend that you reach out to the slaughterhouse management and police to seek an agreement prior to commencing vigils. This helps for multiple reasons.
Firstly, it shows the slaughterhouse that you are a cooperative, fair and courteous person. It gives you an opportunity to explain your aims to bear witness ad your peaceful approach and. It gives them an immediate good impression of who you are as a person and demonstrates how we operate via the love-based approach. This will alleviate their potential concerns and de-escalate the tension. Secondly, it helps open the lines of communication. You take away that wall of potential intimidation by showing them that you are just a human being wanting to exercise your right to a peaceful protest. Lastly, it avoids any secrecy and presents you and your group in a transparent light. By being open and honest from the first day, it helps them to understand that you’ve got nothing to hide.
Unfortunately, the slaughterhouse may not agree to work with you at first. Some may refuse communication. Some may behave aggressively. Some may even threaten or harass you. Regardless of their reaction, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve been polite, courteous and transparent, which is what we’re all about! In other cases, you may strike a safety agreement early on. Below is a suggested draft email that you can send to a slaughterhouse leading up to your first vigil. You can also adapt this and physically say these things on the phone. Just remember to tweak this to make it your own!
My name is [insert name] and I am the organizer of a group called [insert save group name]. I wanted to speak to you out of courtesy to explain what’s going to be happening.
I don’t know if you are aware of The Save Movement, but it is where people stand vigil outside slaughterhouses to pay their respects and bear witness to the animals that are going to slaughter.
A group of people are coming to [insert slaughterhouse name] on [insert date] to bear witness to the animals. I want to reassure you that this is a peaceful movement. I know that we are coming from two very different ends of the spectrum, but I am hoping that we can work together to ensure that everyone is safe. We would love it if each of the vehicles coming in with the animals to stop for us for just five minutes so that we can see them? I am therefore asking you if you would speak to the drivers that you are expecting that day to ask them to stop when they see us?
We have no intention of showing any hate towards the drivers or any member of staff. That is not what The Save Movement is about. We would just like to see the animals to offer them some comfort before they go inside.
It is a lot safer if we don’t have to stop drivers ourselves.
I know this is an unexpected email/call, but would do you think? Would you please be able to work with us that day?
One of the most powerful ways to improve your impact as a Save organizer is to get newspapers, TV stations, radio, and other outlets to cover your protests. The key to doing this is contacting media outlets by sending out press notices.
What to send?
There are two types of press notices for most events: the press advisory and the press release.
The press advisory’s aim is to inform the media of an event that will be happening in the future, and invite them to come along.
The press release’s aim is to give the media all the details they need about an event to write an article, whether they came or not. Itis written like a newspaper article.
Both documents can be sent to newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio stations and television stations.
When to send one?
A media advisory can be sent before a vigil or event. Some examples of good times to send a media advisory are:
●For your first vigil;
●Special guest appearances;
●All day vigils or special vigils (during a heat wave);
●Outreach events other than vigils (such as Virtual Reality events, pay per view campus film screenings, fundraisers, Save Outreach Squad’s Live Witness, and Manchester Pig Save’s ‘Slaughter in the City’).
You should generally send media releases for the same events as media advisories. The exception to this is if something unexpected and important happens at a vigil where you did not send out an advisory. If, for instance, the slaughterhouse releases animals, or you find a particularly egregious and illegal action, you should send out a release. Typically, you should follow a schedule like this to send out the advisory and release:
1) Two days before the event at 10:00 am: Send out the advisory to all outlets you can contact, and follow up with a quick phone call to each outlet checking if they got it and asking if they would like to come. Asking a question helps to get a response. (“Hello, I’m calling with ____ Animal Save. We are having a vigil at ___ Slaughterhouse this Saturday with famed actor ____ attending and wanted to check if you got the press advisory. Are you interested inattending?”)
2)The day of the event at 10:00 am or first thing in the morning: Send out the advisory a second time to every outlet you can contact, and follow up with a quick phone call just like the previous one. If the event is later in the day, do 10:00 am; if the event is early, do first thing in the morning or even the night before.
3) As soon as the event happens or once video uploads: Send out the release to every outlet you can contact. This step is a little complicated, so be sure to do the following:
1) If something remarkable happens at the vigil (e.g. an animal rescue or shocking finding), modify your press release to highlight that.
2) If you have video, upload it to a Dropbox folder and include a link to the folder immediately after the title of your press release (e.g. “VIDEO”). You can send the link out in the press release before video is done uploading or wait for it to upload if the video does not take long. Do not wait more than four to five hours to send it out, though!
3) Follow up with a quick phone call. This should be similar to the one for the advisory, only instead of asking if they are interested in attending, ask if they are interested in covering it.
Why is this important?
More coverage. Each document massively increases your chance of coverage. The advisory can lead the press to decide to come along to the event, which will then make the story their own. If press comes to the event, be sure to have them interview organizers and any notable activists.
Things to remember
Our general aim is that the press gives us positive coverage –but this isn’t always the case. For example, at the first vigil for East London Chicken Save – the press focused on what someone had spray painted on the slaughterhouse, instead of the animals or the great work of the activists. If you are approached for an interview, stay relaxed and remember that our focus is always on the animals and building an animal justice movement using a Tolstoyan and Gandhian love-based approach. Please see the ‘Media Interviews’ section below for more help on this.
Media interviews may not be everybody’s favourite thing, but they are a great opportunity to speak about local groups and The Save Movement, to share with the public the fantastic work we are doing. If you are given the opportunity to talk to the media (journalists, radio stations, TV shows), here are a few tips to remember:
Like with many things, preparation is key. I recommend short bullet points of what you want to say, so you can glance at your notes and they will remind you if you lose your way. Example key points for a local vigil are:
Bearing witness – showing compassion, sharing their stories, promoting veganism and activism;
Date of next vigil and upcoming all day vigil and outreach events/vegfests;
The Save Movement – our mission and our love-based approach; the growth of the movement.
2. Be cool!
It is very likely that the radio host, presenter or journalist you are speaking to isn’t a vegan – so expect the traditional questions we are all used to hearing as vegans (‘protein?!’). If an interview does go down this road, make the most of the opportunity to educate people about veganism. You may face people who aren’t particularly sympathetic to the cause, but as long as you keep calm and provide any useful information you will be doing a great job.
3. Remember our aims
When dealing with press – our aim is to gain positive coverage of The Save Movement, to educate people about what we do (the love-based approach) and promote animal rights.
With a recent press interview, the first question I was asked was ‘What is your message to Cheale Meats?’ (this is the slaughterhouse where we hold Essex Pig Save vigils). I had to think about this question – about what they were asking me and what kind of article this could potentially lead to. I then reminded myself of these aims, and realised that I didn’t want the focus of the article to be on the slaughterhouse, but on the great work we were doing instead. You can always use a question to your advantage. I answered this question by explaining how we adopt a love-based approach – we do not hold vigils to target slaughterhouse workers but instead to show compassion to the animals and share their story as widely as possible.
Be sure to thank the person you spoke to for their time, and keep a record of their details. You never know when an interesting story may come up in the future.
5. Spinning Questions
A common piece of advice for press relations is to “answer the question you want, not the one you get.” If you get asked an off-topic question, spin it back to the topics you want to discuss. Note that sometimes even somewhat interesting questions may not be what we want to talk about: if someone asks if you just eat tofu or what recipes you use, say, “Well the real reason we’re here is…”
N.B.: It is always better to send releases to specific contacts as opposed to general emails, and if you find out that somebody is interested in animals, animal rights or (best of all) vegan, then be sure to make a note of that, as they are more likely to publish stories we send and give us positive coverage if they have already made the connection themselves
Contact: Barbara Sharon Glick, email@example.com, (443) 472-3066
*** Media Advisory ***
Animal Rights Advocates to Stop Trucks, Hold “Vigil” for Cows at Mount Airy Slaughterhouse
Protesters to “Bear Witness” at Wagner Meats Supplier
August 7, 2017, Mount Airy, MD – Today from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. over 50 advocates with the Maryland Farmed Animal Save will be holding a vigil for cows slaughtered at Mount Airy’s Wagner Meats slaughterhouse. As trucks bring the cows to the slaughterhouse, advocates will hold signs and ask the trucks to stop. Advocates plan to give water and care for the cows en route to slaughter. The vigil is part of the practice of bearing witness, in which advocates deliberately approach and encounter animals’ suffering in order to greater empathize with billions of animals abused and killed by humans each year.
The Vigil is in coordination with The Save Movement, an international network that has grown dramatically in the wake of the widely watched “pig trial” of Anita Krajnc, charged with criminal mischief for giving water to a pig on a slaughterhouse truck in June 2015.
What: Vigil to bear witness to slaughter
When: Monday, August 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Wagner Meats, 604 N Main Street, Mount Airy, MD 21771
The Save Movement is a network of animal rights activists using love-based activism to bear witness to animal suffering and slaughter. Visit The Save Movement on Facebook and at http://thesavemovement.org/. Follow us on Twitter @thesavemovement.
Contact: NAME, EMAIL@EMAIL.COM, PHONE NUMBER
Activists Stage Slaughterhouse Protest, March Led by Activist Famed for Year-Long Vow of Silence
November 5, Toronto – Today at 9, activists with the Toronto Pig Save, part of the global animal rights network The Save Movement, staged a vigil outside the doors of Fearmans Pork in Burlington and a march in Trinity Square in Toronto led by James Aspey, an Australian celebrity known for taking a year-long vow of silence to protest violence against animals for food. Aspey is traveling the world to speak of his experience with the vow of silence and is going on a speaking and interviewing tour at Toronto high schools and media outlets.
“Words cannot capture the violence animals endure in human society, but hopefully our actions today can speak to it,” said Aspey.
The Toronto Pig Save and Save Movement more broadly rose to international attention when Anita Krajnc, founder of the movement, was arrested for giving water to a pig outside a slaughterhouse in Toronto, Canada. The “pig trial,” as it came to be known, shone a light on the conditions animals endure on their way to slaughter and on the relationships between law enforcement and animal industries. Krajnc was ultimately acquitted, but the case was covered in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Washington Post, and Guardian.
Recently, Save Movement activists in the US state of Colorado garnered widespread attention with their rescue of several hens from a supposedly “humane” farm. Save activists in Chicago attracted attention when they blockaded a slaughterhouse.
“We will stay out here, raising awareness and airing the truth with love until every slaughterhouse closes down,” said Save Movement organizer Carly Taylor.
Toronto Pig Save is part of the The Save Movement, a network comprised of groups around the world who bear witness of pigs, cows, chickens, and other farmed animals being sent to slaughter. We recognize every animal as an individual deserving of compassion and justice, no different than our dogs and cats at home. We hope to inspire others to take action for animals and model our framework to shut down every slaughterhouse around the world. Visit The Save Movement on Facebook and at https://thesavemovement.org/
Photos, Videos and Livestreams
Post bearing witness photos and videos on social media. Please use Save movement accounts, not personal accounts, where possible.
Our primary focus is emphasizing the animals in the trucks. Documenting the animals plays an enormous role in raising awareness and letting the animals tell their stories. We encourage everyone to bring a camera to capture and share their experience. Post on social media and tag your friends, the Save group(s). Use lots of hashtags on IG. The Save Movement wants to get these profound images out there and to recruit more people to the cause.
o Take the animal standpoint. Get down and close to the animals. Don’t shoot animals from above but from eye level if possible. When posting, communicate from the animals’ point of view.
o Focus on the eyes when capturing images of the animals. You can tell the emotion of the animal through the eyes. The eyes are windows to the soul.
o If you see an injured animal, try and help. Someone should be taking photos and video.
o Stay with one scene for a few seconds without moving. The longer you stay, the more you connect with the animal; you get to understand their personality and their emotional state. Seeing the pigs, cows, chickens and sheep blink and making eye contact is incredibly impactful. You realize it could be you or your dog on that truck!
o Wide angle shots are good to capture the inside and outside of the truck so people can really grasp the overall scene.
o Include activists in some of your images. It’s powerful to see many people at the trucks bearing witness. It can encourage other people to attend a vigil and help inspire other Save groups to form and build The Save Movement.
o Capture images of activists giving water to thirsty pigs.
o Take footage of emotional activists. Viral videos often contain both emotional animals and emotional activists.
o Make sure to get a group shot. It’s good for the team and good for the community. It encourages other people to get involved when they see so many people together. It also provides an historical record of the vigil.
o When shooting on a cell phone, it’s best to shoot in landscape mode.
o Having lights can be useful during night vigils.
o Always be recording if a truck, employee or angry person is there. You may need the video later.
Coping with trauma for animal activists
By Stephanie Wiebe*, Ph.D., C.Psych *The content here is not meant to advise
What is trauma?
A traumatic event is an experience involving actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. A traumatic experience can involve one specific event, or can be a series of events. Because of the horrific treatment of animals and people in industries that exploit animals, animal advocates are often exposed to traumatic events in the course of their work.
“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” — Helen Keller
Common reactions to trauma
o Reliving the event through memories, or nightmares that may involve images, emotions, thoughts or physical sensations you experienced when the event took place. You may even feel like you are going through the trauma again.
o These experiences may be triggered by reminders of the event. Reminders can be anything reminiscent of the trauma and involve all the 5 senses.
o You may find yourself wanting to avoid situations that remind you of the event.
o You may feel numb and find it hard to express your feelings or feel emotionally distant from other people.
o Changes in the way you view other people or the world.
o You may feel on edge, irritable, and have difficulty relaxing or falling asleep.
Most of these experiences usually fade as time passes. Past traumatic experiences can make subsequent trauma more difficult to cope with – current traumatic events can trigger memories such as images, feelings, physical sensations of past traumatic experiences as well. How you cope with these experiences can impact how long they last and how tolerable they are.
Coping with trauma
Do not isolate yourself from other people, use problematic coping methods such as alcohol or drugs, or blame yourself or loved ones – the reality is that the atrocities done to animals are a result of a flawed system, not any one person.
Do… Talk to people who you trust, start informal or formal support groups for animal advocates, take care of yourself – remember what you always found pleasurable and deliberately schedule it into your life, and learn your own reactions to trauma, notice it when it’s happening.
When you are reliving the trauma, do what you can to stay present even as you are having the trauma memory. Use your 5 senses to notice the environment around you right now. Learn mindfulness meditation to cope with distressing emotions. Engage in exercise such as yoga. Spend time with animals – visit a sanctuary or spend time with companion animals – give yourself experiences that directly counter the traumatic ones.
When should I seek help?
A mental health professional can help you cope with trauma reactions. You should especially seek help from a mental health professional if trauma reactions are very distressing or get in the way of living your life and having fulfilling relationships, or the trauma reactions last longer than 1 month.
Where can I go for help?
o Talk to your family physician
o Talk to a psychologist or psychotherapist
o In Defense of Animals Animal Activists Helpline – Phone: (800) 705-0425 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Life After Trauma: A Workbook – Rosenbloom & Williams
Reclaiming Your Life from a Traumatic Experience – Rothbaum & Foa
Strategic Action for Animals – Melanie Joy
Aftershock – pattrice jones
Trauma Stewardship – Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
The Lifelong Activist – Hilary Rettig
Canadian Psychological Association – http://www.cpa.ca/aboutcpa/cpasections/traumaticstress/
American Psychological Association – http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/
In Defense of Animals – www.IDAUSA.org
Mindfulness Resources: Mindfulness Meditation – Tara Brach and Guided Mindfulness Meditation – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Herbal Remedies: Kava Root extract (Yogi stress relief Tea) and Bach Rescue remedy
“Historically, a successful movement requires most of its donors (not most of its money) to come from the [grassroots.]” – Eric Mann, Playbook for Progressives.
Effective fundraising is an important part of building a successful social justice movement. Fundraising is more than about raising money. It’s about building relationships and community. There are many areas of fundraising that local groups can consider:
Hold a fundraiser
A fundraiser is a great way to build community and raise awareness of your group. Set up an organizing committee and decide on a venue, time, potential guest speakers, vegan food, music, and other entertainment. Make it a fun and positive event where people can come together and socialize and also learn about the group’s campaigns. Publicize the event by creating a Facebook event page and posters. Consider asking local media for free PSAs or subsidized ads to get the message out. Consider holding a silent auctions or raffle. Set up an information table. You may have merchandise for sale. Use the opportunity to speak to your community about bearing witness. There will likely be people in attendance who are unfamiliar with bearing witness and have not yet attended a vigil. This is a great opportunity to inspire them to attend. Have a slideshow featuring footage from vigils and other activism events from your community.
Desaulniers, Elise. Cash Cow: Ten Myths about the Dairy Industry. Lantern Books, 2015
Gandhi, Mahatma. Autobiography or My Experiments with Truth.
Ganz, Marshall. Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization, and Strategy in the California Farm Worker Movement. Oxford University Press, 2009.
King, M. L. Stride Towards Freedom
Mann, Eric. Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer. Beacon Press Books, 2011.
Tolstoy, Leo. A Calendar of Wisdom, A Confession, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, My Religion or What I Believe and Walk in the Light and 23 Tales.