A call for liberation
by Laila El Ayadi
Leading up to Christmas 2016 I was part of several animal rescue missions with a group of animal rights activists. From these rescues we successfully liberated 12 turkeys who are now living in peace.
Stepping into a giant shed filled with thousands of turkeys who you know in your heart will be slaughtered one day and there’s nothing you can do to save all of them is unsettling to say the least. As we opened the doors, we could hear how loud the ventilation fans were, a constant vibrating noise that stayed in my head long after we left. The smell was overpowering, I had to put my bandana over my mouth and nose. The temperature change was drastic too, fresh and cool outside and hot and musty inside. There were little bodies scattered all over the ground, not moving, just lying still. Whether it was because of the heat or because their bodies are too big from being bred for meat that they have trouble standing up, I don’t know, it could have been a combination of both.
After documenting the state of the birds and the sheds, we got out some pillow cases and started loading them up with babies. There’s no time to think about who you’re going to take, you just grab whoever is closest to you while being cautious not to step on anyone else. Looking around, some of the turkeys started to get up, but others did not. It was easy to see the deformities and the injuries some of them had, and even easier to see which turkeys were dead.
When the pillow cases were full, we moved back outside the sheds, closed the doors behind us and made our way over the fence. Once the doors had shut the silence was somewhat comforting, but only for a moment. I had so much adrenaline that I was able to carry 4 turkeys over many fences, up and down hills and through tree lines until we got back to the drop off point. The distance we walked from the sheds to the road was probably about 4 or 5 kilometres and I’m not a big strong person. When you’re in the moment and you realise how close you are to giving these babies their freedom you don’t really think about being tired, you just do it because giving up could never be an option.
The long, quiet walk gave me time to think and reflect on what I had just experienced. I felt exhilarated having successfully saved some lives, but also sad and guilty about walking away from thousands and thousands of others that I knew would be violently slaughtered one day soon. I distracted myself from this sense of helplessness by focusing on the changes I was able to make to the liberated individuals. The remainder of the night was a long, cramped, messy and emotional car ride but absolutely worth it to see our little friends arrive safely at their new home.
Being involved in direct action has been a life changing experience. We see photos of what animal farms look like, the state of the animals who are suffering and the conditions they spend their short lives in all over the internet but it’s nothing compared to being there. It’s all so real, a true horror story that I have only seen the tiniest second of in comparison to the insane amount of suffering and death involved in animal agriculture all over Australia.
I was nervous the first time I participated. Sneaking around somewhere you’re unfamiliar with in the middle of the night is a scary thing. But why do we have to sneak, hide and be undetected? If the farms that “food” animals are raised on have nothing to hide, then why is it so difficult and illegal to expose them?
In reality, they have so much to hide. So much. It’s almost ridiculous that activists are lurking around in the dark of night, under cover and taking risks to expose and liberate innocent, sentient beings who deserve to live a life of freedom and happiness. This is seen as “stealing” and “illegal” in the eyes of the law and those who run these horrific industries.
Because the animals inside have been so objectified that they are viewed as nothing more than commodities, property, slaves and profit. They are just as deserving of life as we are. Just because they look different, they communicate differently, and they don’t think like us doesn’t mean they are lesser than us. These differences are insignificant; the similarities we do share are what matters. Animals experience suffering, sadness, fear and pain like we do. They also experience love, affection, joy and relationships.
If you get the opportunity to be involved in direct action, liberating animals, delaying kill floors in abattoirs, rooftop demonstrations, actions that interfere with industry functionality, anything that can save lives, I recommend you do it if you can. The animals need us to fight for them. They only get one chance at life and it is a life full of extreme suffering, pain, fear sadness and death.
If you can’t be involved in direct action, consider other forms of activism such as attending vigils, outreach, protests and demonstrations and if that’s still not for you, digital activism, signing and sharing petitions, starting petitions and writing to industries and government are incredibly helpful and effective.
Want to stop contributing to these cruel industries that kill and torture animals for profit? Go vegan, it’s easy and it’s the least we can do to end this unnecessary suffering and violence. You will notice some big, positive changes in your life and believe me you won’t regret it. Sign up for challenge22.com it’s free, you have access to recipes, a mentor and nutritional advice.