Toronto Pig Save activists bear witness and protest at what they refer to as the "Un-Royal" Agricultural Winter Fair.
On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, "The Market Lamb and Market Kid Auction" included the sale of #200 lamb, who was born less than two months ago in mid-September and weighed only 50 pounds. The bids occur in dollars per pound, underlining how these animals are viewed as mere objects and property by the "sellers" and "buyers".
The buyer for lamb #200 was Mister Greek Meat Market butcher shop located at 801 Danforth. The tiny lamb was herded into one of two pens labeled "Mr. Greek" [should have been labeled "Mister Greek Meat Market") with a dozen other lambs and goats before being destined to Windcrest Meat Packers slaughterhouse in Port Perry.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's "2011 Market Lamb Sale Catalogue" states: "Purchasers of live animals will be responsible for pick up and delivery of their purchases to the slaughter plant of their choice immediately following the sale."
During the lamb auction, many handlers stuck their fingers in what appeared to be lamb's anus to move and control the lambs, providing a small glimpse into how these gentle lambs are moved at any hint of resistance. One can imagine how abusive treatment is multiplied many fold to rush these animals along the production line in slaughterhouses by any means necessary.
Gail Eisnitz in her classic animal rights and pro-worker book "Slaughterhouse" reveals, through interviews with slaughterhouse workers, how crippled animals are poked in the eyes and anus with electric prods to get them up and moving. Eisnitze notes that the profit-motive and the resulting incredible speed of the production line result in such atrocities occurring several times each day in slaughterhouses.
Leo Tolstoy visited a slaughterhouse in order to bear witness and wrote about it in an essay called "The First Step." He writes of how an ox wounded covered in blood would nonetheless try to escape repeatedly by moving back from the kill floor. "It would have been beyond the strength of two men to drag it [sic] in by force, so one of the butchers went round each time, grasped the animal's tail and twisted it so violently that the gristle crackled, and the ox advanced."
Toronto Pig Save held a series of vigils outside the fair and leafleted the Royal Winter Fair's "livestock" or mammals enslaved for food auctions and the rodeo. Joan Dunayer in her book "Animal Equality: Language and Liberation" says the term "livestock" is a speciesist animal food-industry term that serves its interests in exploiting animals. She argues it's a moral imperative to use alternative, truthful language such as enslaved or captive or exploited nonhuman mammals or mammals enslaved and exploited for food.
The Royal Fair also included a pig auction called "The Junior Barrow Auction" on its opening day on Friday, November 3. Toronto Pig Save activists state that animals are not slaves to be auctioned and bought by slaughterhouses such as Quality Meat Packers and Fearman's Pork-- both these pig slaughterhouses were "buyers" at this year's auctions. Mammals are individuals with their own personalities and social lives with mothers and fathers, siblings, and friendships.
Marjorie Spiegel, in her book "The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery" (introduced by Alice Walker), argues that just as in the human slavery era, auctions rip apart individuals from their families as each enslaved being is sold like a separate object to be used and exploited without any regard for their basic rights and freedoms or social life. Rather than being sold to the highest bidder, all mammals should have their basic rights respected and the opportunity to live natural and fulfilling lives in sanctuaries.
Mr. Clare Schlegel of Schlegelhome Farms and former head of both the Canadian and Ontario Pork Councils attended the lamb auction and in a conversation with him, he spoke of some common ground between activists and Mennonite farmers, like himself, and the importance of dialogue and learning. I promised to send him a copy of the Forks over Knives DVD which emphasizes the comprehensive health benefits of a whole grain, plant based diet. See http://www.forksoverknives.com/
Featuring artwork by Caitlin Black and "Healthy Living" music by Stic of Dead Prez, a song promoting healthy, vegan, organic and raw food. See Stic's video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SsTffAB9Dvo
For more info visit: www.torontopigsave.org
Video production: Anita Krajnc (Anita is also co-founder of Toronto Pig Save, the grassroots group organizing the "Un-Royal" activities)