Video: A Vigil to Honor Pigs Trapped in the Farming System

“It looks like one [pig] was non-ambulatory (could not walk). Others were covered in scratches. They were all very small, very young. One of them really seemed to enjoy rubbing [his nose] against my hand. It was hard. And I told them that I was sorry.” — young woman in the Toronto Pig Save video

This short, non-graphic video clip, “Bearing Witness,” depicts Toronto Pig Save’s vigil at a stoplight corner on the morning of January 22, when the temperature was -12ºC but the wind chill factor was -20ºC. For the pigs in the uninsulated, ice-covered metal transport trailers, the cold is accentuated by winds whipping through the open windows as the trucks barrel down the highway. Trucks traveling 80 kilometers/hour would, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, create in these trailers a wind chill factor of an unbearable -40ºC, adding even more misery to the occupants’ already horrific journey. As a result, many of the pigs shown in this video appear to be suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. Their calls of distress reveal extreme physical and psychological discomfort.

Toronto Pig Save’s vigils are held weekly near slaughterhouses in the area. At these vigils, TPS volunteers often hand out free vegan food and literature to passersby. The group always welcomes new volunteers to join them in bearing witness, in comforting the pigs, in leafleting, and in taking video footage and still photographs.

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About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm. As an activist, author and speaker, Grillo focuses awareness on the animal’s experience and point of view, drawing on insights from sociology, psychology, popular culture, ethics and social justice to bridge the gap between humans and other animals. As a marketing communications professional for over 20 years, Grillo has worked on large food industry accounts where he gained a behind the scenes perspective on food industry marketing.


  1. This is terrible, and it is beyond me that it continues in a country that considers itself civilized. There is a group called Animals’ Angels that is working primarily on horse and farm animal transportation. They are documenting such horrors and have had some success in getting transport companies and auction lots big fines for neglect and abuse.. We are obviously not doing enough fast enough for these poor souls.

  2. Given that raising animals for food, then killing & cannibalizing them is still legal in this World, why don’t we at least make it mandatory to respect & value these creature’s contribution to society’s meat eaters. We should be giving them the best life possible during their brief stay on this planet, including climate controlled transport to their place of slaughter!

    This video clearly shows that these people don’t respect & honor the value of the lives of the creatures that have been raised for our cannibal friend’s food!

    You can only imagine what these creatures have been put through behind closed doors & how poorly they have been treated – all along the pathway of their lives! All these people are interested in is profit – with the least effort for the most results! This evidence clearly shows that the Code of Practice requirements for the care & handling of these farm creatures is set far too low. They don’t value or respect the lives of these poor farm creatures without which they would have absolutely nothing! Things won’t change until we get proper Laws into effect which honor & value all farm creatures.

    May I suggest the following:
    What each of us can do now to combat animal abuse in the future!
    Send a written request (e-mail or letter) to your Elected Government Representative asking them to Promote, Create, Support & to Have Enacted – Legislation – making the following matters “the Law of Our Land” as quickly as possible:
    1 Immediate Suspension of all Civil Rights for all perpetrators of animal abuse – upon discovery, until justice has been fully rendered!
    2 Re-introduction of Mandatory Corporal Punishment (Caning, Whipping, Lashing, and Flogging) for all those who abuse animals – carried out by the authorities – upon discovery!
    3 Mandatory Jail Time together with Heavy Financial Penalties –levied against each & every person – who directly &/or indirectly contribute to the unnecessary stress, discomfort, pain &/or suffering of any creature under their care, control, direction, jurisdiction &/or supervision.
    4 Complete Legal Authorization of every form of video evidence documenting any incident of animal abuse – considering such as Prima Facia Court Evidence retroactively – by all respective Governments, Courts & their respective Agencies – with automatic & complete indemnification, authorization & approval of each member of the video evidence team – including any trespass that might have normally occurred – as though the perpetrators of the animal abuse &/or the respective property owners – directly authorized such.
    5 Enactment of a Complete Comprehensive Enforceable Bill of Basic Rights, Freedoms & Privileges outlining & granting to each & every farm creature – a complete management system – based on each farm creature’s respective needs – acknowledging & granting to each & every farm creature the least that is to be expected by each of them from a civilized society.
    6 Vigorous enforcement of each of these Laws against each animal abuse perpetrator – by our Governments and each of their respective Agencies within their jurisdictions – to the full extent of the Law.

    Suggested Basic Rights, Freedoms & Privileges for each farm creature:

    All creatures on this planet including human beings have some very basic similarities with each other:
    1 Each creature is each born with a mind, a body, a soul, a spirit & instinct.
    2 Each creature on planet earth is Sentient.
    3 Each creature is aware that they are alive & how they are being treated (by their captors – if any).
    4 Each creature feels pain & has extensive needs based on their own individual circumstances.
    5 Each creature will eventually die – sometimes from an attack by humans, sometimes at the hands of other creatures, sometimes by disease, injury or accident.
    The inherent rightful welfare of every creature (both human & non-human) is predicated on the fact that they each have a right to live, breathe & be free. Each is aware of their surroundings. Each has individual senses & emotional feelings. These include – the sense of touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, pain, contentment & peace, etc. They each have traits that include trust, anger, frustration, jealousy, loyalty, thought, danger, safety, terror, dread, etc. They each have the ability to be happy, sad, joyful, disappointed, etc. They each have the same basic requirements for life & wellness: food, water, proper housing, enough space, quietness, cleanliness, hygiene, grooming, companionship, light, darkness, etc. All these basic components affect their overall health – as well as their overall sense of well-being from their own personal perspective.
    There are three types of creatures that humans interact with:
    1 Wild Creatures – can live in one of three kinds of environments. The first setting – is truly wild within their normal habitat – where they are relatively fortunate. They are free to come & go as they please & can usually fend for themselves, find their own food & do their own thing – whenever they want – until they die normally – unless humans invade their habitat & capture, kill or maim them. The second setting – is where mankind have interfered with the habitat that they require in order to function normally. In this case – mankind basically rob these creatures of everything they need to exist, including their only sources of food. This destruction of normal habitat comes by mankind burning & looting everything that they depend on in order to survive. Their habitat is destroyed & converted into farm land or other developments for humans (housing &/or commerce). The third setting – is within a Zoo – where it attempts to recreate the setting that should be appropriate were all their habitat & other needs are endeavored to be met in a timely fashion by their zoo keepers. This is often the case where their species has become extinct because of mankind – directly or indirectly.
    2 Farmed Creatures – can be born into one of two kinds of environments. 1st The loving family farm environment – where they are treated with love & respect, care & compassion – with all of their needs being met in a timely manner – until their humane death comes for food production. 2nd Farmed creatures can be born into an intensive factory farm environment (perish the thought) where they are held prisoner against their will, have no rights of any kind, are forced to serve their masters without any input at all on anything – until they are inhumanely put to death by their captors!
    3 Pet Creatures – can be born into one of two kinds of environments. 1st Part of a loving family – where they are happy, appreciated, respected & enjoy loads of love & attention from their adopted family – with all their needs generously provided with care. 2nd Pets can end up in a dysfunctional family – where they are taken for granted by their masters, begrudged everything & live a life of sadness & despair – feeling it deeply!
    Current intensive factory farm environment
    These farmed creatures are taken by force from their mothers at birth, without any consideration being given to them or their mothers that wish to nurse & cuddle them until they are weaned normally. Some are killed at birth, like male dairy calves for being the wrong sex, all through no fault of their own! Some are kept chained up in the dark – away from all other creatures – until they are slaughtered & sold as meat. Some are force-fed until they nearly burst, slaughtered & then used for human food! Instead of enjoying any kind of good life – even for a relatively short time, they are crammed into a small space & treated as indentured possessions until they are killed & offered as food to humans. When they are finally shipped to market, they are packed together tightly – sometimes without proper ventilation and/or air to breathe. When they arrive at their destination, they can feel the desperation in the air because of how they are being mistreated! At the slaughterhouse, they are treated with contempt by the workers with all their slaughtering machinery – designed to kill & process each creature with the most efficiency possible. These poor creatures face particularly great shock & horror at the hands of incompetent uncaring idiots working at the slaughterhouse! Sometimes the workers are careless when they are putting these creatures down where it takes many attempts to kill the creature – extending the misery & torture on the poor creature!

    My Goal
    My goal is to change how these farmed creatures are treated; To ensure that each are given a sense of overall well-being & enjoyment of life from their birth to their death & everything in-between! Even if these creatures are being raised as eventual food for humans, there is no reason why they have to suffer at all – at any time along the journey! I believe that each farmed creature has the right to be the beneficiary of a civilized society, to be nurtured & cared for by loving hands – where all their many needs are properly supplied – for their whole life – in a timely & considerate manner. The welfare of every farmed creature implicitly includes the well-being of their whole body, mind & spirit. Every farmed creature’s individual welfare – whether on a farm, in transport, at an auction or at a place of slaughter – must be considered in terms of their basic inherent indispensable intrinsic Expectations, Rights, Freedoms, Needs & Privileges granted to them in-Law by a civilized society of the 21st Century.

    Every farm creature subjected to any situation created by any human – must at least be protected from all unnecessary stress, discomfort, pain &/or suffering as well as have all of their basic necessities of life properly met & supplied by those responsible for their welfare – in a timely, thoughtful, complete & considerate manner from each creature’s perspective.
    These desirable states outline the just & right requirements that are due to each farmed creature during their lifetime – based on their species, size, shape, instincts & innate temperament. These rights, freedoms, acknowledged needs & privileges form a logical & comprehensive framework for the analysis & evaluation of their state by each public authority – within each animal husbandry system, given the terms of reference within. These rights, freedoms, acknowledged needs & privileges combine with their custodians’ mandatory necessary steps & continuous generous provisions for each farmed creature under their jurisdiction – over the entire lifetime of each farmed creature – from birth to death. Codification & vigorous enforcement of all this – will safeguard, maintain & improve each farm creature’s wellbeing during their lifetime – ensuring that they enjoy the best possible life during their relatively brief stay as guests of a civilized 21st century society on planet earth.

    Basic Rights, Freedoms & Privileges Summary
    The following rights, freedoms, acknowledged needs & privileges are due to each & every farmed creature – define the ideal objective states to be realized by each farmed creature during their relatively short but good lifetime as beneficiaries of a civilized 21st century society.
    1 Freedom To Be Comfortable all the time which includes freedom from Cold, Excessive Heat, Harm, Hunger, Thirst, Discomfort, Distress, Danger, Accumulated Defecant, Forced-feeding & Continuous – Confinement and/or Tethers.
    2 Freedom To Have & Enjoy Their Own Space with appropriate fresh clean bedding & clean fresh water continually provided. This includes enough space for them to move around & do what they please when they want to.
    3 Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour when safe for others – by being provided with adequate exercise area, quiet rest area – with concomitant darkness, and the appropriate company of their own kind, as is normal for their species.
    4 Freedom from Danger, Anxiety & Stress – provided by each caregiver – ensuring suitable conditions, systems, treatments & processes which avoid all farmed creatures having to suffer in any way at any time during their lifetime.
    5 Freedom from Pain, Injury & Disease – by prevention &/or intervention of an appropriate level of professional Veterinary Assistance – providing diagnosis, treatment & corrective measures in a timely manner – to meet all of the needs of the respective farmed creature – as and when they are due.
    6 Freedom from Incompetent, Uncaring, Barbaric Idiots – by ensuring that all persons attempting to work handling any animal – has the correct attitude, training & ability to properly manage the creatures that will be under their direct control.
    The above implies a continuous provision for all of each creature’s respective needs – based on their species. This may include a continuous provision of suitable climate controlled healthy protective housing. It also may include the provision of normal natural daylight & darkness cycles required by their species in order to thrive. In addition, it includes ready access to continuous fresh clean water, a comprehensive healthy robust diet to maintain their full health and vigour, together with the timely removal of all their defecant – all based on their particular species’ needs.

    Paul Coupland
    This concept called Five Freedoms originated with the Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems, the Brambell Report, December 1965 (HMSO London, ISBN 0 10 850286 4). This stated that farm animals should have freedom “to stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs,” a list that is still sometimes referred to as Brambell’s Five Freedoms. As a direct result of the Brambell Report, the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (FAWAC) was set up. This was disbanded at the same time that the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) was established by the British Government in July 1979, with some common membership. The concept was subsequently refined by FAWC so that it actually took the form of five freedoms. It has since been further updated and is now the most visited page on the Council’s Website.”

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