End Animal Slaughter’s SANDRA KYLE does weekly vigils at slaughterhouses in her home town of Whanganui (New Zealand) under the worldwide Animal Save banner.

In her latest blog she writes that sheep are much more intelligent and emotional than we give them credit for.

 

SLAUGHTERHOUSE VIGIL, Whanganui 29 December 2019

I went to the sheep and bobby calf slaughterhouse first today, wondering if at Xmas time things would be winding down. Not a chance. Two unloaded trucks came out just minutes after I arrived, and then within half an hour a three-tier truck packed with lambs came. I couldn’t move fast enough to get close up shots before the truck entered the slaughterhouse, but you can clearly see how jammed it was, with the little ears and noses of precious innocents sticking out of the side openings.

 

We arrogantly and ignorantly say that sheep are ‘dumb’ but it’s not true. Studies have shown that just about everything we believe about them is wrong. Scientists have established that sheep are intelligent and they are capable of problem solving, including negotiating their way out of a complex maze. In particular, they have very good memories. They recall at least 50 individual sheep and humans for years, and will avoid people who have not been nice to them. They build lifelong friendships, stick up for one another in fights, and get depressed when their friends are sent to slaughter. That’s not dumb.

 

Yet even if they were dumb, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. They are living beings. They are sentient. They can suffer. They have loved ones. They have an interest in their lives, and they want to continue their lives. We have no right to jam them into trucks and send them to have their throats slit so we can snack on their flesh. It’s just so very barbaric and it’s just so very wrong. When are we going to stop this?

 

Yet even if they were dumb, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. They are living beings. They are sentient. They can suffer. They have loved ones. They have an interest in their lives, and they want to continue their lives. We have no right to jam them into trucks and send them to have their throats slit so we can snack on their flesh. It’s just so very barbaric and it’s just so very wrong. When are we going to stop this?

I have often thought I would like to be like Dr Doolittle and understand all the animal languages. I would like to know what they are saying to us, and to each other. I really don’t think it can be that hard. If we were more loving and sensitive, I am sure we could all be ‘animal whisperers’. It could be that some time in the future all beings will understand each other, intuitively. I can’t tell you how much I would like to be around when and if that happens. 

 

The sheep I saw made no sounds today, but at the pig and cattle slaughterhouse up the road I heard many heartbreaking ‘moos’. I stood with my signs on the roadside for a while but the devilish wind that hangs around that murderous place fought to tear the sign from my hands, and made it almost impossible for me to stand upright. I have brittle bones and was afraid of falling, so gave up after about twenty minutes. I needed a break, so went to see my friend Joy at her Rescue, and hugged some bunnies, a kitten, and two four day old ducklings (who were hatched by a hen).  I fondled the ears of two sheep, enjoyed a vigorous licking by two doggies, and scratched the backside of a miniature horse.  Hey Presto!  I immediately felt better!  If only all animals could be loved and well treated, instead of exploited, abused and slaughtered….

The staff were still there when I got back to the slaughterhouse, and standing on a stepladder I managed to get a couple of shots over the fence before the groundsman, hosing feces away from the under the animals, saw me. Please spare a moment to look at the faces of these beings who, tomorrow morning, will be no more. This is why we bear witness to animals at slaughterhouse gates. To acknowledge their existence, to tell them we love them, and to say that we’re so sorry that we cannot save them. We always hope to provide some comfort to the frightened animals, and when we’re able to make a connection, we even succeed.

 

 

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