End Animal Slaughter’s Sandra Kyle does vigils under the banner of the Animal Save Movement, a worldwide organisation bearing witness to animals going to slaughter.

 

SLAUGHTERHOUSE VIGIL, Whanganui, 22 September 2019

I have been doing weekly vigils for so long now that it’s likely many people don’t bother reading about them any more. Four years of blogging about standing outside a slaughterhouse with my signs, once – now twice – a week. It must all get tiresomely repetitive. I have always tried to make my reports interesting, to keep drawing attention to the existence of these infernal places. Like a flea that won’t go away, I persist. But I’m also getting a bit tired of it all. So today I’ll be briefer, spare my efforts for once. I just want to say a few words about Cow No. 174.

I was able to get close to her because she arrived behind another truck being unloaded, and it was parked just outside the slaughterhouse boundary. I ached to put my hand inside the truck and stroke her and her sisters, but the groundsman was there, his phone at the ready to ring the Plant Manager, who has threatened to call the police. I had forgotten to charge my Bluetooth speaker so I had no music to play. Instead, I spoke to her and her sisters to try to comfort them. ‘Hey baby, how you doing? What a beautiful girl you are. How do you feel my lovely? Don’t be frightened. It’s alright. Everything is going to be alright. Don’t worry about anything my sweet girl!’

I nearly choked with despair at the inanity of my words. Of course it wasn’t alright! How could it be alright? She was going to spend a cold, hungry and frightened night in a pen and then someone was going to beat her with a stick, or electrocute her with a rod, to get her to walk up a ramp where someone was waiting to shatter her brains, and someone else was waiting to open her neck.

I nearly choked with despair at the inanity of my words. Of course it wasn’t alright! How could it be alright? She was going to spend a cold, hungry and frightened night in a pen and then someone was going to beat her with a stick, or electrocute her with a rod, to get her to walk up a ramp where someone was waiting to shatter her brains, and someone else was waiting to open her neck.

Tomorrow morning the blood of Number 174 will be splattered on the apron of her slaughterer and pooled on the concrete floor where he stands. Her heart will be thumping and throat will be tight up to the moment she loses consciousness, her last moments filled with fear and loneliness. And there’s not one single thing I can do to save her.

I know by common yardsticks some would call me a fool for doing these vigils and my other efforts to help animals. But I think that’s because such people are using the wrong criteria to judge me. I’m no longer a Christian, but I remember that somewhere in Corinthians it says: ‘For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.’ I have my own criteria. I know where to seek, and how to listen. I’m just not listening to the same things they are.

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