The vigil that gives the pigs moments of water and love before the slaughterhouse



At the south gate of the Clougherty Packing Company meat processing plant, known as Farmer John Los Angeles, an altar with candles appears every Wednesday and Sunday. It's there for the hundreds of pigs that come to this slaughterhouse on a daily basis.

At the cry of "Truck!" given by an activist, dozens of others stationed on Vernon Street immediately run to block the entrance to the trailers carrying pigs, holding signs with messages such as: "We do not hate truck drivers, we are here for the cuches" or "Leave them live".

While some impede the passage of the trucks, with their fingers making the sign of "love and peace", other armed with liquid sprinklers and water bottles give animals to drink, talk to them and caress them.

This operation of "love and kindness" lasts between 2 and 5 minutes, but is repeated over three hours each of those two days, in front of a slaughterhouse where every day a dozen trucks arrive, some of two plants, and some 7,000 pigs are cut, according to the activists.

"This is their last stop, when they put them through these halls and enter the house of the massacres they will not go out again," said Efe, on the verge of tears, Ellen Dent, spokesperson for the Animal Alliance Network, an of those responsible in Southern California for the so-called Vigil for the Pigs.

Together with LA Animal Save, the two groups began in December 2016 these days of "compassion" against "animal abuse", within the framework of an international movement led by Save.

"We want people to see the truth behind what they might be eating," Dent said, adding that not a few of the 400 activists who congregate every Sunday are very shocked.

According to the activist, in the trailer the pigs travel from distant farms "without eating or drinking water" for up to five days, and some arrive already dead due to the combination of hunger, thirst, cold or extreme heat.

"(The activists) see them and empathize with another being who is suffering (...) they see that they are afraid and they know what is going to happen to them," Dent described.

"The most important thing is to give water to the pigs (pigs), because they die," explained Eder López, Hispanic spokesman for Animal Alliance Network and who documents the vigils with images he shares later on social networks.

"What we are trying to do here is to show them kindness, to speak to them with kindness, because they are 6-month-old pigs, they are afraid," the Honduran-born activist added.

Despite the shouts ("I love bacon!") And jokes of some drivers passing through the area, activists seek to raise awareness about the harmful effects of eating meat, a type of food that, says Lopez, not only It is bad for the animals but for the human being since they contain "cholesterol, saturated fats, antibiotics, feces, urine of the animals".

"Literally, we are ingesting diseases in our body," he insisted.

Ana Valverde, activist of the organization LA Animal Save, told Efe that at her first vigil, two years ago, back home she "felt dying of sadness".

"When I give them water I see their eyes, I feel bad and I think that if my heart does not feel good, much less will my stomach feel good," said Valverde, originally from Costa Rica and defined as vegan.

"We have normalized violence so much that killing these animals does not feel like violence," he said.

Figures handled by the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA, for its acronym in English) indicate that every year in the US about "121 million pigs are killed for food" and more than 1 million pigs die en route from farms to slaughterhouses.

Efe tried unsuccessfully to obtain a statement from Farmer John.

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