Animal Rights Activists Target Slaughterhouses as Worldwide Movement Grows
62 animal rights activists from 269 Libération Animale occupied the Sicarev slaughterhouse in Roanne, France, for over 13 hours yesterday completely blocking the “production” line. They invaded the facility at 3 am. 15 activists positioned themselves on the snow-covered rooftop, set off colored smoke bombs and unfurled their banner, marking their triumph. The rest of the activists penetrated the building, hunkering down in the long, eery and narrow passageway used to move live steer forward to be stunned, hoisted and butchered. Packed tightly together, dressed in all in black, they crouched and pumped their fists defiantly, chanting loudly in French, “Sicarev! Murderers! Justice for animals!” The occupation of the slaughterhouse was broadcast live on Facebook while vegan activists around the world cheered them on in real time.
A battle cry from the front. An urgent call for direct engagement and a rejection of ‘welfarist non-action’
“The animals who are here with us do not want to die in better conditions,” said one of the activists, reading from a text during the onslaught. “They want to live!”
Exhorting worldwide animal protection advocates regarding their ineffective passivity and “welfarist attitude” and directly addressing those who purport to be animal lovers, the young, female activist read the blazing prepared statement by 269 Libération Animale:
“You, who claim to defend them, isn’t it high time you resisted by their side? This is where the victims are and where we ought to be, between them and the knives. Confrontation is necessary in order to politicize the fight against speceisism. We can no longer rely on soft, public outreach to consummers and marches as the only method of resistance. We must stop believing that inoffensive strategies that are far from the victims are going to get results, that things are just going to change by themselves. The situation is getting worse by the day and non-human persons are in agony while indifferent humans refuse to come resist by their side. At great risk, we are determined to complete our 10th slaughterhouse blockage. We are here because justice is more important than our personal comfort. Let us show the government that the issue of animal cruelty is an urgent political matter and we will not stand by while three million animals who are murdered each day [in France] deserve more than mere marches that are authorized by the state. It is time we altered our methods to match the utter evil we are fighting against. It is high time to construct a veritable opposition movement to confront the system of oppression.”
The objective, obviously accomplished, of this non-violent assault on Sicarev’s facility was to expose the terrifying reality of abject cruelty in slaughterhouses and, for the first time, to successfully paralyse the operation of a slaughterhouse by blocking the production line for over 13 houres. No animals were killed that day and workers walked out because of the take-over of the facility.
The activists were eventually extracted by police and were arrested for tresspassing. They face serious charges, including fines and possible prison time for interfering with the operation of a business.
A deeply disturbing video taken during the event, showing what is left of the animals who are killed at the Sicarev slaughterhouse daily, was posted on their Facebook page. The video, which does not show any live animals, reveals circumstantial evidence of the extreme violence that animals endure there. It is a crime scene of immeasurable magnitude, replete with piles of severed hoofs, large bins of bloody, disemboweled organs, mountains of bloodied hides and a heart-breaking shot of a lone horn, cut off of a steer’s head, lying next to a bloody drain.
On both sides of the Atlantic: a rising tide of anger at the system of oppression against animals
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in North Carolina,USA, just days earlier, an animal rights activist was brutally beaten by police at yet another slaughterhouse protest. The activist, Anthony Collini, was, absurdly, “arrested for resisting arrest,” was violently slammed to the ground and was punched by several law enforcement officers so hard in the face and head that he had to be hospitalized for a concussion, contusions and sprains. The video of the police brutality has since gone viral and Bladen County Sherrifs told me there was “no use of excessive force,” which is a blatant lie (see video below).
“It was horrible,” said Dacia Thorson, organizer of Rise Up, Shut it Down. She had gathered her group of around 300 animal rights activists from around the country to protest outside Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, the largest pork-producing plant in the world, killing over 30,000 pigs per day.
About the assaults, Ms. Thorson said she felt saddened that individuals standing up for the rights of innocent beings from barbaric, outdated traditions are met with brutality themselves when coming from a place of peace, love and compassion. “It is a war of ethics and morals,” she said.
Lorrayne Hurley, one of the activists who witnessed the incident of police brutality, told me the “cops were slapping at faces, slapping at phones, cordoning off public property.” She told me that several of the officers admitted that they were hired by Smithfield for “security.” She also stated that the activists’ goal was to merely offer some water and comfort to some of the thousands of pigs transported to the processing plant that day. They wanted to bear witness and make their presence felt at the entrance to what can only be described as an Auschwitz for pigs.
There were 12 arrests. All posted bail and must return to Bladen County District Court on February 16.
Ryan Phillips, an activist from Williamsburg Virginia told me there were more than 30 law enforcement officers on the scene and that no one knew who were police and who were Smithfield security guards. “There was one guy in a brown blazer who shoved an activist and I asked him, are you police? And he said, ‘yes,’ can I see your badge?”
“ It doesn’t work like it does on TV” sneered the officer or trooper or security guard. We might never find out about this shady relationship between the multi-billion dollar Chinese-owned meat company and local law enforcement because Smithfield won’t answer my calls and the Sheriff’s office refuses to answer the question. But they don’t deny it either. One thing we do know; Smithfield is one of the biggest polluters in America and is profiting while destroying lives all around them with their enormous toxic lagoons full of blood, puss, ammonia, antibiotics, piss and shit. Smithfield is hated by workers (they just recently got the right to unionize), hated by neighbors who have to suffer the toxic environment and has been punished with millions in penalties, the highest ever, to the EPA for serious environmental violations.
Smithfield employs over 50,000 animal abusers and desk job apologists and rakes in revenues of $14 billion per year. Its Chinese billionaire owners don’t pay much for stabbing pigs — $10 an hour.
From Wikipedia: In 2010 a jury in Jackson County, Missouri, awarded 13 plaintiffs $825,000 each against a Smithfield subsidiary, Premium Standard. Two other plaintiffs were awarded $250,000 and $75,000. The plaintiffs argued that they were unable to enjoy their property because of the smell coming from the Smithfield facilities.
As of 2017 in Wake County, North Carolina, nearly 500 residents are suing a Smithfield subsidiary, Murphy-Brown, in 26 lawsuits, alleging nuisance and ill health caused by smells, open-air lagoons, and pig carcasses. Residents say their outdoor activities are limited as a consequence, and that they are unable to invite visitors to their homes.
Want to see the picturesque Smithfield toxic blood lagoons for yourself? They’re the size of football fields. We’ve got drone footage for you:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 175-page report in 2005 documenting what it said were unsafe work conditions in the U.S. meat and poultry industry, citing working conditions at Smithfield Foods as an example. The report said workers make thousands of repetitive motions with knives during each shift, leading to lacerations and repetitive strain injuries. It also alleged that the workers’ immigrant status may be exploited to prevent them from making complaints or forming unions. According to the report, the speed at which the pigs are killed and processed makes the job inherently dangerous for workers. A Smithfield manager testified in 1998, during an unfair labor practices trial, that at the Tar Heel plant in North Carolina it takes 5–10 minutes to slaughter and complete the process of “disassembly” of an animal, including draining, cleaning, and cleaving. One worker told HRW that the disassembly line moves so fast that there is no time to sharpen the knives, which means harder cuts have to be made, with the resultant injuries to workers.Similar criticism was made by other groups about Smithfield facilities in Poland and Romania.
So basically, Bladen County is floating on a 500,000 acre scab of pig blood, urine and feces. You can smell the stench of this hell for miles and hear the pigs scream for their lives. For those who do not believe how animals are mistreated at a Smithfield facility, here is the evidence: watch the undercover investigation by the HSUS.
I have been on the front lines of the animal rights movement for over 25 years. I’ve been gassed at point blank range, spit on, been shot at with rubber bullets, high-powered air-rifles, been beaten, sued, gotten innumerable death threats and watched a fellow activist get her calf blown off by SWAT police right next to me at a bullfight protest in southern France. And yet, I’ve never felt this hopeful because I know in my veins that I am in unison with the Smithfield and the Sicarev protesters — that this is no cutsie-celebrity vegan foodie trend — this is the social justice cause of the century, as significant as every social justice movement in history. We are still in the cradle but it feels good to remind ourselves that it took less than 1000 men to storm the Bastille and topple the monarchy.
We must become ardent students of history to fully utilize the tactics, strategies and methods that have propelled social justice forward. This system of oppression against other species has to stop or our planet will die. We must recruit. We are running out of time! It is our duty to act.
To the welfarists who falsely believe you are helping animals by lobbying and playing nice with conglomerate animal murderers for an extra inch of space in a cage, we are so done considering you allies of non-human persons. We’ll reserve our respect for those who take the risks, not those who pose in gowns and tuxes at galas and congratulate themselves for raising big money to further engage in atrocities like “humane meat.”
We must remember that we are soldiers in the very first army of non-violence in the history of the world. Our weapons are empathy and truth. We are millions strong. We will never back down until every cage is empty.
We are vegans.