Starting a New Chapter
Expand the Pig Save Network
You can start a pig save-like group in your community. Toronto Pig Save started in 2011 by regularly bearing witness of the transport trucks carrying sad and frightened pigs going to “Quality Meat Packers” slaughterhouse in downtown Toronto. Since its bankruptcy, we moved our weekly vigils to Fearmans pig slaughterhouse in Burlington and to the three remaining slaughterhouses in Toronto’s west end.
We encourage you to bear witness of the plight of farmed animals in their communities and to start a pig, cow, chicken, fish, or other such group where you live. We welcome interest from individuals like you, and hope to inspire you to start a chapter wherever you live. Our goal is to create forever homes at farm sanctuaries and a just transition to from an animal eating society to a nonviolent, whole grain, plant based, that is – vegan – society.
One of Toronto Pig Save’s missions is to expand the existence of pig save groups and vigils worldwide at every slaughterhouses, live market, animal farms, enslaved mammal auction houses, or a route used by transport trucks. To quote Paul McCartney: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everybody would be vegetarian” (we would say vegan!).
Toronto Pig Save is here to assist you with your commitment to activism and to rescue enslaved mammals and other animals. TPS 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 Pig Save-like 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.
How to get started…
You can start small. The first step is to try and find some co-organizers. Realize you are not alone in your desire to help animals.
• You can start by arranging a meeting to discuss goals, plans, trainings, strategies and tactics. Find 5-7 people who would be interested in starting a chapter.
• You and your team can begin with investigating what animal exploitation facilities exist in your area. Find the slaughterhouses, stockyard/auctions, animal farms and other animal facilities in your community. For a complete listing of federally expected slaughterhouses in Canada and for a listing of provincially inspected slaughterhouses in Ontario.
• Gather information on the companies such as what types of animals they slaughter, how many each day; find out the animal transport routes through your area; the source of the animals; the environmental pollutants emitted from the facility; and whether there is a union representing the workers
• Contact SaveMovementInfo@gmail.com for help in getting started with graphics and other resources.
• Set up social media accounts. Start Facebook like and groups pages and an Instagram account and invite people to join you. Once your group has become established consider creating a website to serve as a clearinghouse of information (WordPress.com offers free websites)
• Enlist help from your friends and family for different roles, such as action planning, police liaison, safety and animal cruelty reporting, animal rescue and care, recruiting, photography, vidoegraphy, social media, fundraising, and so forth.
• Meet with other animals, environmental and social justice groups in your area and ask for their support in organizing initiatives and getting the word out.
Bear witness together to the suffering animals
• Work toward holding regular weekly or monthly vigils to bear witness as a group in high traffic areas near or at the facilities you wish the public to know about.
• Start the animal vigil with a briefing and go over Save’s Code of Conduct.
• Take photos and videos and commission artworks in order to “make slaughterhouses have glass walls”
• Bring a clipboard and pen to fill out the Safety and Animal Cruelty Reports. Record truck license plates, ID numbers, time of day, temperature, and any possible violations.
• Have a debriefing after the vigil. Consider holding a sharing circle.
• Consider going for food or tea before or after the vigil as a way for the community to come together and support each other.
Helpful Next Steps
• Think beyond vigils. Instead of just holding vigil after vigil, broaden your activism by planning campaigns and adding other forms of activism. Examples of political campaigns are slaughterhouse free cities and designating meat/dairy/egg free zones at universities, schools, hospitals and communities.
• Read ‘This is an uprising’ by Mark and Paul Engler which will help shape effective campaigns and strategies and then hold regular training sessions to help others become more effective in their activism.
• Contact city or state councilors and political representatives in your area who are animal friendly and invite them to your events
• Table at VegFests and other related events as a way to inform, network and recruit face-to-face. For example, Toronto Pig Save tables at the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s VegFest each September to build our membership base and connect with a host of people interested in becoming active participants.
• Organize fundraising events such as dinners with speakers. Toronto Pig Save holds an annual Animals Beyond Border (ABB) fundraisers each December with special guest speakers, musicians, information tables, and auctions. In our first ABB we invited Glenn de Baeremaeker, an activist city councilor to present a keynote address.
• Visit and support local animal sanctuaries.
• Plan special events in your area at or near the slaughterhouse or auction house. For example, TPS held a veggie dog give away on Labour Day, organized a series of protests against the “(Un)Royal Agricultural Winter (Un) Fair’s enslaved mammal auctions, and sang Christmas carols for the pigs outside the slaughterhouse.
• Increase participation at vigils by inviting special guests. For example, Marc Bekoff attended a TPS vigil when he was in town and wrote about it. Also, ask other groups to co-sponsor a vigil and other events. For instance, the Toronto Vegetarian Meet-up group and VAST made a vigil their meet-up event in December 2011 and it turned into one of our largest vigil.
• Organize an art show with animal rights artists as a way of making slaughterhouses have glass walls
• Contact local media with your events and get the word out with posters, approach local businesses, i.e., TPS and Sadie’s Juice Bar and Diner worked together raising initial funding for brochures, posters, and artworks.
A Gandhian, Love-based, Pro-worker Approach
TPS uses a positive, love-based, Gandhian approach and is pro-labour. Our goal is to create a caring and environmentally-friendly society and a healthy vegan way of life. We speak to people as equals with no judgment. Such positive approaches tend to produce ripple effects in the public and in worker responses. Other benefits are there is less conflict and activist burnout.
All our communications should be love-based, that is, positive messaging on placards and being friendly, non-reactive, non-argumentative and nonjudgmental. For example, we have big pink hearts with Pig Save written on them, signs that read “Love and kindness for Pigs” and “Where has our empathy gone?”, a series of “Why Love One But Eat the Other” banners and “Please stop for 2 minutes. No hate for truckers. We are here for the pigs.”
Toronto Pig Save has been holding three vigils per week for almost a decade. If we used a negative, conflict-based approach we would likely have not been able to sustain our commitment and would have major activist burn-out.