Animal Law Week at HLS | Anita Krajnc, “The Duty to Bear Witness”


GABRIEL WILDGEN: Hi. My name is Gabriel Wildgen. I’m
with the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund here at Harvard. I want to thank you all
for coming here today. It’s a really nice day
outside and there’s other talks going
on, so I appreciate you choosing to be here. I definitely want to thank
the Animal Legal Defense Fund for sponsoring this event
and the Animal Law and Policy Program for
sponsoring the event, and of course, our
speaker today, Anita Krajnc, for coming here all
the way from Toronto, Canada to talk. Before I get into
introducing Anita, I just want to tell you a
little bit of housekeeping about the rest of the week. As a lot of you
probably know, today is day three of Animal
Law Week here at Harvard. We have two more great speakers
coming tomorrow and Friday. Tomorrow we have ex-NFL
player, a 300-pound vegan, David Carter, coming to
talk about food oppression in our food system,
especially as it relates to factory farming
and plant-based foods and how plant-based foods
are part of the answer. And then on Friday,
we have Sharon Nunez from Animal Equality, which is
a really fantastic charity doing a lot of great work for animals. So I hope you can make it
out for those talks, as well, but we really appreciate
you being here today. And now, it’s really a
great pleasure for me to introduce Anita
Krajnc, someone who’s inspired me
a lot personally in the past several years. She’s the co-founder of
the Pig Save Movement, starting with Toronto Pig
Save and the Save Movement, more generally,
which has exploded into hundreds of cities across
the world in recent years. Especially as Anita became
kind of a real figurehead for the animal
protection movement when she was put on trial
for criminal mischief charges for feeding water
to a overheated pig on a slaughterhouse
truck and really took that opportunity to
put the factory farming industry on trial,
even though she was the one technically on trial. And she is really
just somebody who I’ve seen as an example of
how you can use kindness and compassion and
speaking with moral clarity to get your message across,
rather than necessarily speaking from a place
of anger or a place of adversarial-type thinking. And Anita has a PhD in political
science from the University of Toronto and has
taught for a long time at Queen’s University. And she’s just been, again,
a really great advocate for animals. So please give a warm
welcome to Anita Krajnc. ANITA KRAJNC: Thanks a lot. Thank you. Thanks a lot. It’s great being here. I wanted to thank
all the organizers. And I just wanted to start off
by asking you if you’re vegan. How many people are vegan? Do you want to
put up your hands? Not everyone’s vegan here, good. OK. Not good. But I mean, good to know. How many people have done
activism, like animal activism? Put your hands up high. How many– yeah, yeah. OK. Good. So more people are vegan than
activists, and a lot of people are vegan here. So I wanted to start with
a quote by Leo Tolstoy. He was born in 1828
and died in 1910, and in the last 30
years of his life, he became an ethical vegetarian. And he said, “do not believe
in words, yours or others’– believe in deeds.” And in that picture
that I showed you, there’s no difference
between a dog and a pig. It’s just our prejudice. So what I want to cover
today is the concept of bearing witness, which is
the main strategy of Toronto Pig Save and it’s a strategy
lots of social movements have used historically, to
talk a bit about the pig trial and my charge for giving
water to a thirsty pig in front of a slaughterhouse,
and how that has contributed to the
rise of the Save Movement. Now there are over
300 groups worldwide, but we started with
a group in Toronto called Toronto Pig Save. So I was already a vegan
and an activist in 2006. And I moved back
to Toronto, and I knew there was a slaughterhouse
within a kilometer of where I lived, and I
didn’t do anything. I thought, oh, somebody
should do something. Somebody should leaflet there. I even contacted another
active group and said, can you do something there? And I didn’t do
anything till I adopted Mr. Bean, shown in that picture,
that lovely beagle whippet. And when I adopted him,
I’d walk every morning on Lakeshore, which is
a really busy street in downtown Toronto, and I would
see eight or nine transport trucks with pigs in them. And I would see the pigs looking
out with their fearful and sad eyes. And at the time, I was reading
books on Tolstoy, Gandhi, Ramakrishna, and
they all took action when there was an injustice
in their community. And so the next picture shows– so that’s Pig Island. So you see a transport
truck in the distance there, and we would hold our vigils
on this traffic island, which is about a kilometer away
from the slaughterhouse, because there was a lot
of rush hour traffic, and people could see us, and
we could bear witness safely. So thousands of people would
see us three times a week. And then the next
picture, that’s my mom in the wheelchair,
holding “love for pigs.” We’re there in front of
the slaughterhouse, where they would unload the pigs. So once a week we
would go there, but it was more in a quiet area. And we could see the pigs in
the distance being unloaded and hear them screaming. So we used a love-based
community organizing approach, which means that you organize
an intensive campaign in one location to try to
make change happen. And our goals are four-fold. We’ve always, since
the beginning, said our goal is
to create vegans. We don’t say less meat,
because when you bear witness to an animal,
animals in a truck, you don’t say, oh,
let’s save one. You say save them all. So it’s impossible for
me to actually say that. So our movement is very
much promoting veganism, but it’s also promoting
activism, because it completely changes when you actually meet
a victim firsthand and bear witness. I became vegan
because I saw a video. That changed me. But when I bore witness
for the first time and really went up to
a pig, looking at– in a truck, it became
a priority in my life. So that’s why I think everyone
really needs to bear witness. So another goal is to create
a mass-base grassroots movement for animal
justice around the world, and a fourth is to
change the cultural norm. Because right now,
how many people say, I don’t want to see? There’s a Facebook posting
of slaughter or something, or there’s a slaughterhouse
in your neighborhood. Like, I don’t want to see. I don’t want to know. I’m already vegan, or I’m
already an environmentalist. I’m already doing this. Our movement wants that
answer to be unacceptable. Ethically, it’s unacceptable. So the concept of
bearing witness means when someone’s suffering,
you need to speak out. And I would like to
quote Martin Luther King, who started speaking out
on the Vietnam War in 1967. And he said, “had I
not committed myself to the principle that
looking away from evil is, in effect, a
condoning of it. Those who lynch, pull the
trigger, point the cattle prod, or open the fire hose act
in the name of the silent. I had to therefore
speak out if I was to erase my name
from the bombs which fall all over North
and South Vietnam from the canisters of napalm.” So if you want to
erase your name off the slaughterhouse walls,
which are covered with blood, you need to act appropriately–
change your diet, and also advocate. So the concept of
bearing witness was defined by Leo
Tolstoy in a book called The Calendar of Wisdom,
which I gave a copy to Chris. He said, “when the suffering
of another creature causes you to feel pain, don’t
succumb to the initial desire to flee from the suffering
one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as
you can and try to help.” So it’s such a beautiful,
impactful definition of bearing witness, and it’s
used by the Save Movement. So Leo Tolstoy is one of the
inspirations for our movement. So when you look into the trucks
and you see these animals, they’re pleading for help. This photo was taken of a baby
chicken in a transport truck in front of Maple Leaf Poultry,
where we hold weekly vigils. And she’s about to be violently
yanked out of that crate and hung upside down before
she has her throat slit. And sometimes we see
feet in the crates when the empty trucks leave,
because sometimes their feet get stuck in the crates
and they get pulled off. So it’s an extremely
brutal industry. The animals are
saying, as this pig, I watch passersby,
hoping you’ll help. Now, our movement
has been criticized by the ALF, the Animal
Liberation Front’s founder, Ronnie Lee, as
being a watch movement. He said we were inappropriately
named the Save Movement, because we’re looking
at these animals, and then they go to slaughter. It’s a partial form
of bearing witness. It’s not a full form. Only in a few hundred instances
did we actually save animals at the slaughterhouse. We sometimes ask and say,
please, spare a life. Like a week before
Easter or Passover, we say, spare the
life of a lamb, and we’ve been successful
with a lamb slaughterhouse. We’ve saved– in Australia,
they saved a sow just recently, during Christmastime. And there was a
calf that was born on a slaughter
truck that was saved in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So we do occasionally
save, so a few hundred, but we’ve witnessed millions
of animals going to slaughter. So the point that it’s– bearing witness, even
in a partial form, is better than nothing. So it’s better to be there
than not to be there. It is a step forward. And Romain Rolland
was a vegetarian, French Nobel laureate. He wrote, “but in art, it
is not necessary to combat evil with evil but with light. The evil that is
seen face-to-face, the evil that is
conscious of being seen is more than half-conquered.” So that’s why the industry
wants to hide these images and prevent people from
seeing the victims. So I think– I know myself, I
had a prejudice, even when I was vegan
and an activist, I thought the pigs in the
trucks looked all the same. But when you bear witness,
you see the individuality of all these animals. And those who are informed
have an added social obligation to take a stand. They must lead. I’ve heard people say,
I’m already vegan. Why should I bear witness? The answer is provided
once again by Tolstoy. He said, “one who
knows the truth must bear witness of the
truth to those who do not.” And this makes
sense, because who’s going to be motivated
to help the animals? As animal lovers, as people who
care about animals, as people who are informed, you
have the motivation to do this difficult
work and self-sacrifice to see these animals
suffering in order to spread awareness and
encourage veganism and activism on the part of other people. So often the conditions of
the pigs are just horrific. In the summer heat, they’re
frothing at the mouth. They’re thirsty. And I want to show you a short
video that we took at a vigil at Fearmans, the place
where I got charged later. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] – I love you, baby. I love you so much. We love you. We love you. I love you so much. – This is so wrong,
so very wrong. – When the suffering
of the creature causes you to feel pain– – Do not submit to
the initial desire to flee from the suffering, but
on the contrary, come closer– – As close as as you can to
him or to her that suffers. – And try to help. – And try to help. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] – That’s why we’re
here, Leo Tolstoy. – We love you so much,
and we’re trying our best. [SQUEALING] [END PLAYBACK] ANITA KRAJNC: So I became
a vegetarian in the ’90s, and I didn’t even know
about veganism then, and I don’t remember seeing
trucks on the highway. But now, when I
go on the highway, I see them all the time. So one of the roles of the Save
Movement and our regular vigils is to politicize these
trucks so people see. And as you can see,
this environmentalist, who has bumper stickers saying,
save, save, save the seals and so forth is not
paying attention. And what’s remarkable is
when you see these animals in the trucks, they’re looking. They’re waiting for somebody to
help and to make eye contact. And as soon as you
go there, like we’ve done seven years of weekly
vigils, three vigils a week, and never has a pig bitten
me or anyone in our– sometimes, the truckers
say, oh, watch it. They might bite you. They know that
we’re their friends and we’re there to help them. And they’re looking. They’re just waiting for you,
for people to take notice and to help them. And so that’s why
the vigils are also very important, because we’re
there to tell their story. How many people have seen
the film Okja on Netflix? So it’s a remarkable film. I think they spent $50, $60
million to make this film, and Bong Joon-ho, the director,
said people do not want to think about slaughterhouses. So what he did in the
film was he made Okja, the super pig, no different than
a dog, and a little girl, Mija, risks her life for
Okja and vice versa. And they’re constant companions. And Bong said, “I want
to portray the Okja film from the
viewpoint of an animal. It is witnessing
your family being dragged into a slaughterhouse.” So when you see the film,
you see the pig as a dog, and many of us consider our
dogs part of the family. And there’s a very
intensive scene where the pig is about
to be stunned in a knock box in a slaughterhouse. So Mija pleads that
Okja be released and that she take her
back home, and Nancy Mirando, the owner
of the slaughterhouse says no, it’s my property. And that’s sort of
reminiscent of what we faced in the pig trial. And Bong says that
the machinery, the metallic machinery
used to kill these animals, disassembled
beautiful cows and it was really horrible and evil,
and it made him go vegan, at least for a short time. He lapsed, but hopefully,
he’ll come back. So he actually visited
this slaughterhouse, JBS Slaughterhouse to
get an idea of what a slaughterhouse is
like, but he said he could only capture
10% of what he witnessed, even though that film
is super powerful. He said it was an overwhelming
and traumatizing experience. There is a group that we have,
one of our saves, Greeley Cow Save, which is run by a
college English teacher, and she was pressured
to not speak out. And she said she only had
one word for JBS, moo. And at JBS, they
murder 5,600 cows a day and so you can imagine. It’s a constant line
of trucks coming in. So one of the things I wanted to
emphasize is, in this picture, you see they look similar. But what you do when you come
up close and bear witness, they’re all individuals. And so one of the roles
of bearing witness is to break the disconnect. Bearing witness is the
opposite of being disconnected. And there’s a concept in the
anti-globalization literature called the distancing effect. Sometimes you can
purchase something, and it might be from
a sweatshop somewhere halfway around the world. And so there’s this
distancing effect, and people do not know the harm
that they’re contributing to. Well, bearing
witness is something that can counter this
distancing effect, and you get to see the
impacts of your food choices. So bearing witness is an
act, but it’s also a method. And some of the aspects
of bearing witness is that it involves
firsthand experience, which is very powerful. It’s animal centric
or animal standpoint. It’s something that’s
incredibly simple to do, and it’s very accessible. You would be
surprised at how easy it is to go to slaughterhouses
and witness a lot. It’s a community
actually that involves as many people as
possible, and the key is to do regular vigils. And a DxE organizer,
Leslie Goldberg, asked me, what is the difference
between watching a film and bearing witness? And I want you to
think about that, because maybe you’ve seen videos
that had an impact on you, but bearing witness is
something that’s very different. It’s much more impactful,
partly because of experience. So that’s the first
topic I want to cover, is the power of observation. So Leo Tolstoy said, “a person
knows the life of other beings only through observation
and only so does she know of their existence. She knows of the
life of other beings only when she wishes
to think of it.” So you can imagine, if
you go and bear witness in front of a slaughterhouse
and see terrified animals about to go to
slaughter, you’re going to think about it a lot
more than watching a movie. Because there’s a
level of accountability and responsibility
once you witness that in your own community. And Vladimir Chertkov, who
was Tolstoy’s best friend, wrote in One Life– it’s an
animal rights book in 1912– said, “to get a true notion
of this matter, first of all, one has to face it. The best way to
literally face it is by visiting a slaughterhouse
or a kitchen yard and firsthand witnessing
the killing of pigs, cows, chickens for our table. I have no doubt that
the great majority of people who would do it
several times with diligence would very soon recognize
the unlawfulness of what is happening before their eyes.” And this particular– these
photos are from another– Philly Farmed Animal Save
and the chicken crates are unloaded right on the
street and the sidewalk before– and there you see in a distance
what the crates look like. And if you experience
that as a passerby, that’s why you need to walk
up to the crates and witness the individuals. See the difference in impact
when you see those two photos? And there’s an activist from
that group bearing witness. So this method is
also animal centric, and that’s one of the
reasons we really promote it is each individual is– each is an individual. That becomes very clear when
you are bearing witness. Your personal contact puts a
face on the nameless numbers, to paraphrase Charles Dickens
in his industrial novel, Hard Times. The animals become
the focus of activism and also social media
images that our group posts. We often witness pigs and other
animals that are scratched. In the cold weather, we
see them with frostbite. This pig has purple ears. When they’re on the highway, the
temperature is so much colder because you get windchill. You see animals with tattoos
carved on their skin. You see absolute terror. And if you observe
that photo carefully, you see the terror not only
in the eyes, but in the mouth. And if you ever–
how many people have visited a farm
sanctuary and seen happy pigs that are free? They’re completely different. Their faces are happy. Their eyes are happy. They’re smiling. Go “like” the page
Esther the Wonder Pig. She’s near Toronto,
and you’ll get an idea of how happy pigs can be. Cows are extremely meek
and gentle creatures, and they’re absolutely
terrified when they go to slaughter,
because they can smell five miles away what’s happening. And they’re very sensitive with
the loud noises and the sights. So this is the slaughterhouse
where we did our vigils, and talk about accessible. It was across the
street from a dog park, and this is shot from a condo. So you see a truck leaving,
and in the mid part of the photo on
the right, you see the two trucks about to turn
around and go and unload the pigs there. And condos surround the
area, and so it was something that was very accessible. And the idea of why love
one but eat the other? Why love a dog and eat the
other is so obvious there, but it’s important for
activists to point that out, because a lot of people
walking their dogs and taking them to the dog
park did not pay attention to the trucks going
by, and that’s why it’s important to do activism. Some groups do city vigils. So in Melbourne, the Cow Save
groups goes to busy streets, and they raise awareness there. So you don’t have to do it
in front of a slaughterhouse. Our biggest Save group
is LA Animal Save, and they have about 100 people
going to their weekly vigils. And they’ve had Rooney
Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Moby, a lot of celebrities
go to their vigils. And Amy Jean Davis is
the organizer there, and her partner is Shaun Monson,
and he did the film Earthlings, which is a really
powerful, one of the most powerful animal rights films. So one of the keys is to
get as many people involved as possible. Lee Staples was one of
the founders of ACORN. And he said, “a
successful direct tactic involves lots of people, as
many people as possible.” When you have lots of people,
it’s easier to stop the trucks. And sometimes some
groups have arrangements with slaughterhouses, where
the slaughterhouse agrees to stop the trucks. So at Maple Leaf Poultry, where
we do our weekly Chicken Save vigils, each truck
stops for 10 minutes, and the plant manager
arranged that. In the case of Fearmans
pig slaughterhouse, there is no such arrangement,
and you have these trucks running into mostly women. Most of the
protesters are women, and all the drivers except
one I’ve seen are men. And so it’s incredible how quick
the police are to charge us, whereas these
trucks are literally engaging in dangerous
driving and assault with a weapon when they’re
running into these activists. So we’re currently in
negotiations with the police and trying to get an agreement
This sergeant was very helpful. He said it’s like
a labor dispute. So often, labor unions,
when they’re striking, they lock the gate of
the industrial site, and so he made that
excellent comparison. So we do regular vigils
and that’s the key, but another key is
to do all-day vigils and bring celebrities out,
because you get more people, and you’re more likely
to save an animal, get media, and get lots
of people attending. And what we found at
our all-day vigils– they might run 24 hours or
12 hours or even 30 hours– is that half the people are new. So I just want to
end with talking a bit about the pig trial and
the rise of the Save Movement. So this photo was taken two
years before I was charged. So we’ve been giving water
to thirsty pigs for years. And I want to provide
you some details of the criminal case,
the defense, the media campaign, and the verdict. I’ll just show you a bit of
the footage from this day. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] – Can you give this
guy some water? – Don’t give them anything. Do not put water in there. – Well, have you
ever been thirsty? If you were– Jesus said,
“if you are thirsty, give them water.” – You know what? These are not–
these are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad. Hello? You know what? Now we’re going
to call the cops. – Have some compassion. Have some compassion. – Let’s call the cops now. – Have some compassion. – What do we do? 911? – Go ahead. – Yeah, no. What do you got in that water? – Water. – No. How do I know? Don’t put it in there again. – If this pig’s thirsty,
he’ll have water. – You do it again, and I’ll
slap it out of your hands. – Go ahead. If you want to have
assault charges, go ahead. Film this. If he wants to have
assault charges, go ahead. I’m sorry, baby. We love you. [END PLAYBACK] ANITA KRAJNC: So the next
day after this incident, the factory farmer,
Eric Van Boekel, filed charges at the
police station in Halton. At the time, he still
owned the pigs technically. Once they’re delivered
and unloaded, the slaughterhouse owns them. Eric Van Boekel was quoted
in the Canadian press as saying, “don’t
touch my stuff,” so very much saw the
pigs as his property. I was charged with
criminal mischief, interfering with
lawful use, enjoyment, or operation of property,
the property being the pigs. The penalty was initially a
maximum of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine,
but at a pretrial, the judge changed the
maximum fine to six months. The disclosure simply
stated that the accused was observed by Vandler-graaf– Jeff, the truck driver– to be spraying an unknown
liquid into the trailer when the hogs were situated. It led to almost a
two-year trial process. There were about five
pretrials and five court dates with witnesses and
then an additional day for closing statements,
and then the verdict. And those are my two vegan
lawyers, James Silver and Gary Grill. And we had people
do slaughterhouse– sorry, courthouse vigils at all
the pre-hearings and the trial. And there was media scrubs
already at the pretrial. So it became a huge
story in Canada. And James Silver,
one of my lawyers, came up with a hashtag,
compassion is not a crime, and we used that
in our campaign. There were demonstrations at a
Canadian embassy in Portugal, one in Argentina, and then
there was solidarity vigils. We had four expert witnesses. And what really impressed
me with my lawyers, like I didn’t expect
this, but they even invited someone to
speak on the health benefits of a vegan diet. Dr. David Jenkins, he
invented the glycemic index. He had five degrees from Oxford. He was a vegan. He was a professor at the
University of Toronto, and he discussed
the diseases caused by meat, dairy, and eggs. We had another ex-professor
talk about animal agriculture as a leading cause of
environmental catastrophe. That was Tony Weiss. So these two witnesses,
David and Tony, David Jenkins and Tony Weiss. And then we had two
female witnesses, who talked not so much
about our self-interest in helping animals,
but they talked about the animals suffering. So we had a veterinarian
talk about– Dr. Lori Marino,
she’s quite famous. She’s in California. She counted the
number of breaths that these pigs were
taking in the video, and it was about 200 breaths,
10 times the normal rate per minute. And then we also
had Dr. Lori Marino, she’s a famous
cognitive behaviorist, and she talked about
the sentience of pigs and argued that pigs are
persons, not property, based on science, because they
have complex communications, personalities, and so forth. So we tried to
highlight that fact, that pigs are not
property, they are persons. Another thing we highlighted in
this case was the Golden Rule. And again, to quote
from Leo Tolstoy, “we should take pity on
animals in the same way as we do on each
other, and we all know this if we do not deaden
the voice of conscience inside us.” It’s a really beautiful
definition of the Golden Rule applying to all life. Just quickly,
historically, people have been charged for
showing compassion. So there was the Fugitive Slave
Act of 1850, Tolstoy’s famine relief, where authorities
tried to outlaw it, and then we have Steven
Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project advocating for the
legal personhood of animals. In terms of the
Fugitive Slave Act, people could be sentenced
up to six months in prison and fine of $1,000 for
giving food to a runaway slave. And Harriet Beecher
Stowe was so incensed that she wrote
Uncle Tom’s Cabin. How many people
have read that book? So just an incredible book. I strongly recommend it. And she said– well, this book
helped raise consciousness and support for the
abolition of slavery, and it was the
second-best selling book of the 19th
century after the Bible. And it really helped
promote, as I said, the cause of abolition
and President Lincoln, himself, said so. In terms of an
example from Tolstoy, there was a number of famines
in Russia and surrounding areas, and there was a particularly
bad one in 1892. And he and his whole family
took more than a year off to engage in famine relief
and set up soup kitchens, over 200 soup kitchens. And this is his son, Ilya. He said, “I tried
to convince him”– this is a police officer– “that there could be no
law prohibiting charity. This, of course,
was to no avail.” Then Leo Tolstoy
said, “people cannot be prohibited from eating.” And the police officer
said, “put yourself in the position of a
man who is under orders from his superiors. What would you have me
do, Your Excellency?” Leo Tolstoy says,
“it’s very simple. Don’t work where you
can be made to act against your conscience.” And you must all know a lot
about the Nonhuman Rights Project and the
work of Steven Wise. So animals currently
in the legal system are often seen as
things, and that ignores their most
basic interests, their lives, their
suffering, their freedom. Legal personhood
establishes the legal right to be recognized as a potential
bearer of legal rights in the court system. And again, his
project emphasizes equality and liberty. So what was Judge
Harris’ ruling? I was found not guilty,
but on the grounds that I didn’t actually
interfere with the property, being the pigs. So the pigs still
went to slaughter. So it was a victory
in those terms, but not a victory in terms
of what we were fighting for. He called pigs property. It wasn’t a nuanced decision. He said they are property
just like cats and dogs, but again, it’s a gray area, and
he didn’t really address that. He didn’t accept my
lawyers’ argument that I was acting in
the public interest and that could counter– it could apply in a case of
a criminal mischief charge. And he dismissed part
of the testimony, and all of the testimony of the
two female expert witnesses. So he dismissed the
testimony of Dr. Armaiti May because she was someone who
spoke out on animal rights. So my lawyer said,
how can you do that? It’s like if somebody
was a lawyer in the 1800s and was opposed to slavery
and was working on a case or was an expert witness,
would you dismiss them? Should they be
pro-slavery in order for you to grant
them recognition? And then Dr. Lori
Marino also, he said that she should not
speak on whether the pigs were tortured, and clearly the
evidence that we submitted showed many cases of torture. And I’d like to quote
from Dr. Maneesha Deckha. So she said the case
was asking the courts to consider whether
animals are persons, so that was a good thing. And she said the case
also was asking the court to consider the analogy between
human and animal oppression and to consider the concept
of bearing witness of animals. And so she said these were
all progressive aspects of the case. But in terms of– she was very
disappointed with the ruling, because the departure point of
recognizing animal suffering and animal vulnerability
was ignored in this case and the verdict
normalized industrial farming. So she said anything
that is connected with emotion, compassion,
or care is seen as suspect. And she said of
the four witnesses, the two men, two women, the
men spoke very effectively on the environmental devastation
wreaked by animal agriculture and the diseases caused
by meat, dairy, and eggs. The women spoke of
why we need to be more compassionate to animals
because of their sentience, sociability, and suffering. And the judge challenged
the two women witnesses on impartiality grounds. So it’s not just a
feminist analysis, it’s also a vegan analysis
and an animal rights analysis, because the suffering
of these animals was completely ignored
in his verdict. Just a brief– I
want to show you a little bit of
my lawyer speaking on the public interest aspect. Sorry. OK. [AUDIO PLAYBACK] – Argument that we
were advancing, should the judge find that
she had committed the offense of mischief,
however technically so, was the public interest defense. The comparisons with historical
figures, Gandhi, Mandela, and Susan B. Anthony were all
in context of the argument that when you are considering
the defense of the public good, you have to consider
all of the harm that Anita was seeking to avoid. And do we really have to
look back years and years on injustices committed
in the court system before we learn
from our mistakes, before we learn that it’s
unacceptable to treat the other any differently? [END PLAYBACK] ANITA KRAJNC: So in
conclusion, again, returning to quote
Tolstoy, and he’s very much an anchor for our movement. And when I was in
the pig trial, I reread his book, A
Calendar of Wisdom, and I gave a copy to,
as I said, Chris Green. I strongly recommend this book. You can get it on Amazon,
A Calendar of Wisdom. And this is from his journals. He talks about following
your conscience and that’s what guided
us in this trial, like, just doing what is right. And you can’t fight the Golden
Rule was one of our points, and that animals
are not property. So Tolstoy said in
his journal of 1895, “the inner law is what we
call reason, conscience, love, the good, God, words like that. These words have
different meanings, but all from different angles
mean one and the same thing, the world can be looked
upon in this way. A world exists governed
by certain well-known laws and within this world are
beings subject to the same laws. But at the same time, bear
in themselves another law, not in accord with the former
laws of the world, a higher law, and this law
must inevitably triumph within these beings
and defeat the lower law. And in this struggle, and in
the great victory of the higher law over the lower
law, in this only is life for a person
in the whole world.” So he said always
follow your conscience, and sometimes that means
civil disobedience, and that’s the
right thing to do. So what happened with
respect to the Save Movement? When the incident took place 2
and 1/2 years ago in June 2015, there were 35 Save groups. And now, 2 and 1/2
years later, there’s 320 groups, or 314
here in the chart. And so that’s a
growth of ten-fold, and there are now groups in 40
countries on six continents, and it’s growing in
an exponential rate. So in 2016, it doubled from
the beginning of the year to the end of the
year, from 50 to 100. And then last year,
it almost tripled. And so we plan to continue
with that rate of growth. And we have a conscious
organizing strategy. So this is a hard-to-see
graph, but it’s the growth that took place in
2017, and a lot of the growth was in North America and
Europe but also in Central America and South America. We had no groups
at the beginning of last year in Central
and South America, no groups in Africa,
no groups in Asia, and all that changed last year. At the beginning of last year,
we only had 24 Save groups in the United States. Now we have 82, so
it tripled in the US. And one of the groups
is Boston Animal Save, and we have Dominique Ruszala,
who’s here with a group, sitting in the front there. But we put it into perspective. We know our place in history. We study other social movements. We have to ask for more. To give you some
context, in the 1830s, there were 300 anti-slavery
societies in the state of Ohio alone. And community organizers,
including this Quaker, Benjamin Lundy, he
traveled 2,400 miles, held 50 public meetings
in a few months and helped set up a lot
of anti-slavery societies. So we use that classic
community organizing strategy. We go to VegFests. So we send out teams to go
to the US VegFest, Latin America, South America,
Europe, and hold a vigil after the VegFest. So it’s a really good
place to recruit, because you’ve got
veg-curious people. You’ve got a lot of vegans
who are not active yet, and you’ve got active vegans, so
it’s a great place to recruit. And inevitably, when
you do a Veg Fest, you help create
a new Save group. We also have other organizing
drives that are more economically efficient. We send people on tours, ranging
from a month to a few months. In one case, we
currently have people on a tour for six months. And they go town to town
and go to multiple countries and set up groups. And that’s how we
grew very quickly in Central and South America. And we know from studying
other social movements that it’s really important
to spend a lot of money on organizing. So the union Service
Employees International Union is the largest and fastest
growing union in the US and they used to spend
5% on organizing, and then in the early ’80s,
they switched strategies and spent 25% on organizing. And then the leader
of that group back then was John
Sweeney, and then he became the head of
AFL-CIO and he also pushed that coalition
of unions to spend more money on organizing. United Farm Workers hired
hundreds of organizers to go to towns across the US
and implement grape boycotts and wine boycotts. So they combined a labor
organizing strategy with a community
organizing strategy that wasn’t only site-specific
in the farm fields, but reached the middle
classes by going to cities and getting them involved
to support the campaign, and it was incredibly effective. Oh, and these are these
wonderful organizers, and they saved a chicken
at that particular vigil. So you see, rescued,
Pepito Rosario, who was named
after the woman who worked at the slaughterhouse. And then those are– the two activists there
in the picture on the left are going on a six-month tour. So Ruth is from the Netherlands
and Chavonne is from Norway. So we use a love-based approach. And when this placard
was first introduced by Kathleen, one
of our organizers, “no hate for
truckers, we are here to show love for the pigs,”
it was a little controversial, but now it’s a key
part of our campaigns. And it’s just a
love-based approach where we’re
non-judgmental, and we try to change people with love. And we kindly point out to
the oppressor what is wrong. And Tolstoy said,
it’s very important to communicate the truth with
love, kindness, simplicity, and humbleness. And just drawing
from his book again on how it’s important to connect
the dots for an oppressor, he said, “but
however much they try to deceive themselves
and others, they all know that
what they are doing is opposed to all the
beliefs which they profess, and in the depths of their
soul, when they are left alone with their conscience, they
are ashamed and miserable at the recollection
of it, especially if the baseness of their actions
has been pointed out to them.” So that’s where we come in. So you point out the baseness of
people’s actions in a kind way. And so Gandhi said,
“social change will occur not in the
dim and distant future but within a measurable time,
the measure being the measure of effort that we put forth.” So in other words, the more
of us putting more of our time and resources into creating a
world of animal equality, where we don’t harm others, where
we respect others as equals is doable. It’s just the more time and
resources we put into it, the faster it will happen. And one of the
ways it will happen is if you see everyone
as an organizer, and in community organizing
approaches, that’s a classic idea. Everyone is an organizer. We use Marshall Ganz’s concept
of expanding team leadership. Marshall Ganz is a professor
of sociology at Harvard, and he was a director
of operations for United Farm Workers. And the United Farm Workers ran
the most successful campaigns at unionizing agricultural
workers in California, which is really difficult to do. Other unions had failed. They succeeded, partly because
of expanding leadership teams, and that’s how we organize
the Save Movement. We also have political
and economic democracy. It’s not hierarchical. So each region has their own
certain amount of autonomy. They have their own budgets. They open their
own bank accounts. They run their own campaigns. And if somebody has a good
idea, the other groups adopt it. So it’s not centralized. It’s not Toronto-based. It’s a global movement. I wanted to close with
encouraging you to– you live in Boston,
and if there’s a slaughterhouse in your
city, you have an obligation, a duty to proactively go
there and bear witness, and I would argue,
also to organize. And if you come
from somewhere else, and you’re just here studying,
maybe when you go back home, you could find out where
the slaughterhouses are and go there. Visit the slaughterhouse,
and see if you could get a Save group started. And I wanted Dominique just
to announce the regular vigils that they do. And yeah. DOMINIQUE RUSZALA:
Just talk from here? So I run Boston Animal Save. We’re still a really new group. We only started up in
June, so we’re still kind of building momentum. But what we’ve been
mostly doing is we’ve been holding
vigils every Sunday as much as possible
at the construction site of the new slaughterhouse
in Westport, Massachusetts. So the slaughterhouse
is actually going to be a nonprofit
slaughterhouse. And I’m not really
sure how they even were able to get the
status, but it’s something that they’ve been arguing
that they need a local place to slaughter their animals. They’ve been bragging, it’s
going to be really humane. This is going to
be really great. And so we’ve been
there just challenging. No, killing’s not humane. So we actually get a lot of
reactions from the community. It’s actually a very busy road
so a lot of people see us. A lot of people have actually
stopped to talk to us and read our signs. And they say they
see us all the time, and they wanted to know more. So we’ve definitely raised a lot
of awareness in the community. We’ve also been interviewed
for the local newspapers, where they also actually
gave a lot of quotes from us saying that eating
meat is cruel and slaughtering isn’t humane. So we’re going to be
there on Thursday. We’re also going
to be at Den Besten Farm in Bridgewater,
which is a currently running slaughterhouse. So it’s a small-scale
slaughterhouse. It’s not like the pictures
you saw with thousands of pigs coming in every day,
but I’ve actually personally been inside of it,
so I’ve actually seen the animals dying there. I’ve heard pigs screaming. They have some sheep
and goats in the back that you can purchase
for slaughter, and those animals are the
most terrified animals I’ve ever seen in my
life, because they can hear and smell everything. So people like to say, oh,
it’s a small, local place. It’s good. I can buy my meat
here and not feel bad. That is not true. I’ve seen these locations. So– and that’s also
actually on a very busy road. So when we were there, we also
received a lot of attention from the community. There were school buses with
high schoolers passing by. They pass by the
slaughterhouse every day. So we were actually able to
talk and interact with people at the intersection, too. There’s a lot of traffic. I definitely encourage you
guys to come out, “like” us on Facebook, and
come to our events. We try to hold things
that are actually more in Cambridge and Boston,
too, so that people can get involved
and help improve the situation for animals. ANITA KRAJNC: Right. So there’s a double
vigil tomorrow, one from 8:00 to 10:00
and 10:30 to noon, and then there’s
vigils every Sunday. So please, please join. It’s quite an experience, too. It’s an obligation,
I believe, to see the victims in your own town– around the world, but
starting in your own town. OK, thanks. So is there time for questions? GABRIEL WILDGEN: Those folks
who need to leave for class, feel free to do so, but we’ve
got the room for a while, to take questions. I’ll just give you
the microphone. AUDIENCE 1: How
do you go about– [SIDE CONVERSATION] AUDIENCE 1: How’s this? OK. How do you go about
convincing a slaughterhouse to arrange for
the trucks to stop so people can bear witness? I can’t imagine why they
would want to do that. ANITA KRAJNC: A lot of Save
groups have agreements. We have a Save
Movement Handbook, where we have sample letters
to write to a slaughterhouse. And management styles at
slaughterhouses are different. So at the poultry
slaughterhouse in Toronto, the manager sort of
understands why we’re there and even respects us, and
is probably doing that job because it’s a high-paying job. He has children. We talk. Because we use a
love-based approach, we get to know the
slaughterhouse workers, the managers, the owners. And a lot of times, they
actually support us, and they know what they’re
doing is not really right. Also, there’s a safety issue. Like, people could get run over. So I think they
have an obligation. So we also ask that they
let us do what we’re doing. We’re not going to go away. We regularly bear witness, but
let’s try to do that safely. So we write to them and say,
can we have an agreement? We also sometimes
approach the police, and sometimes the police
facilitate an agreement. So a lot of slaughterhouses
around the world that they have vigils,
they have agreements. A lot of them don’t, but
we encourage an agreement. AUDIENCE 2: Thank you for
telling us about your work. I really admire what you do. I wanted to ask you,
what have the reactions from the mass media been? Have you had big coverage of,
for example, your pig trial or your work in general? ANITA KRAJNC: Yeah. We started in 2010, and then
the pig trial happened in 2015 to ’17, and it was
remarkable how much media we got for the pig trial. And it just shows you the
importance of law and court cases, because there’s
all these points of intervention for the media. And media, they get a lot of
advertising dollars for bacon and pork and things like
that, so sometimes it might be difficult for them
to cover a regular vigil. But when it’s a
court case, there’s a certain legitimacy
associated with it. It’s amazing what you
can do with a court case, in terms of media coverage. I also had two
very savvy lawyers who knew how to turn
the case around and put animal agriculture on trial. They were– and oh,
I contacted PETA as soon as the case
happened, and they helped with media releases and
getting the word out worldwide. So they helped, and they also
brought some celebrities in. So Maggie Q, who is a star
in Designated Survivor, the TV shows. She came, spoke. And Ingrid Newkirk came
twice to the pig trial and even bore witness
with us before that. And then, Mckenna Grace, she’s
a 10-year-old child actress and gifted. She’s also in I, Tonya. She’s the 10-year-old
playing Tonya. She’s amazing. She’s so eloquent. She came to the pig
trial for the verdict and she also bore witness
before attending the verdict. AUDIENCE 2: So it
was a good thing. ANITA KRAJNC: Yeah. Yeah. My lawyer said it’s probably
the best thing that ever happened to Toronto Pig Save. So yeah, the courts
can play a role. Even though the
judgment, as I said, there’s a critique of the
judgment, very disappointing, in terms of making any
progress on animal law. AUDIENCE 3: I don’t know
if you follow what’s happening to Joe
Carbstrong now in the UK and he’s dragged
through the media, and the media, they love to
use certain frames because they are newsworthy. So he’s called an extremist. I don’t know. Do you have– when the
trial was in the media, was there any frames
like that used? ANITA KRAJNC: Yeah,
initially in the pig trial, there was comments
about there’s a danger that the food supply is
being tainted with activists giving water to pigs. But that was just initially, and
I contacted my lawyers, saying, oh, my god. This is horrible. Should we sue them? And he goes, no, no, no. This is part of
the media process. Let them work that out. It actually generates
interest in the trial. And so I did, I just left it. And it was true. That was a story for a
while and then they went. But by and large, the media
coverage was really positive, and I would argue even Joey
Carbstrong’s coverage is really positive, because
they are showing the images of the animals
being borne witness to. So I don’t know how many
people know Joey Carbstrong, but he’s like a vegan
celebrity from Australia. And in the past, he used
drugs and went to prison. But he, himself,
used that in media releases because that
generated interest. And I mean, that’s the
way the media works. But I think he’s very effective
at getting the word out on veganism and our
duty to be activists. AUDIENCE 4: First,
I just want to echo Celia’s accounts about
how amazing it is, the work that you’re doing
and the movement that you’ve started, and the
rapid growth is really promising and incredible. When you first started
bearing witness, emotionally, how difficult was
it for you, and how has that changed over time? ANITA KRAJNC: Yeah, that’s
a really good question. Initially, bearing
witness, it’s shocking, like you live in another world. You feel like this is insane. And you feel like you’re
on another planet when you’re bearing witness
or at a slaughterhouse. It’s not part of our normal way
of thinking and what we see. But I thought, oh, we’re
doing three vigils a week. It’s great. What makes me
happy is when I see new people coming, so that sort
of balances out the difficulty. And I thought, oh, I
could keep on doing this three times a week. But then, after you
see certain things, I did get burned out a little
bit about two years ago, but I backed off a bit. So I don’t go to three
vigils a week anymore. I go to one vigil a week. And I did some self-healing. I never did self-healing before. So I mean, I started buying
incense and things like that, and just taking care,
a little more care. So yeah, there is that
aspect, and different people are different. But most people find
that bearing witness is very meaningful, and
it changes your life in a good way. Because you see the
impact, and it’s important to bear
witness to the truth. I mean, we’re all animal
lovers, and if you love someone, that means you spend your time
and effort to try to help them. That’s what love is. So yeah, it’s
incredibly meaningful. And also, the
thing that makes it easy for our movement
to grow is the fact that there’s so much community. So we spend a lot of time on
the social aspect of just like– for example, LA Animal Save,
they always have a dinner before or after the vigil. So they do that
community building, and you support each other. Yeah, so it makes
it sustainable. And also, I think the
fact that it’s love-based, if it was an angry
movement, it was hateful– it’s very easy
to be angry at the workers. That’s the kind of thing
that makes it not very sustainable in my view. And when we first
started doing vigils, we had like a thumbs-down
campaign, like thumbs-down to the slaughter. And I would glare at
the driver, and I would be shaking for half an hour. And I thought, gee, this
doesn’t really work. You’ve really got to use
a love-based approach, because it’s better
for everyone. Yeah, because
Tolstoy said, there’s so much hate and
evil in the world. If you’re going to change
that, you have to add love. If you add more
love to the world, that’s what’s going
to change the world. You can’t fight evil with
evil or hate with hate. AUDIENCE 4: You had some
amazing quotes in there, and shining the
light, obviously, and that being half the battle. One other question I have is,
when people come up to you– and you mentioned
this, too, just because these busy intersections
and people are talking to you. I’m just curious what their– as they hear about
what you’re doing, people that are not
vegans or not vegetarians, are not really sensitive
to this until they talk to you, what their reaction is? Because I see it as
sort of a spectrum where there are
people that think that killing innocent animals
or humans– anybody– is wrong. And then the other end
of the spectrum, it’s fine as long as
they’re not humans, like the truck driver said. And then sort of in
the middle is, well, I’m fine with them being
killed, but I want them– I want it done humanely. And I’m just curious
what your experience is sort of within
that spectrum of what people usually sound like, think
like, and are talking about. ANITA KRAJNC: Yeah,
that’s a good question. Yeah. We’re slowly growing. When we do these weekly
vigils, people off the street sometimes join us. It depends what you do,
where your slaughterhouse is. So if you do
door-to-door campaigns. That’s what we did in Toronto,
but that slaughterhouse went bankrupt. But we used to go door-to-door,
have community events, like veggie dog giveaways,
you meet the community. The more intense your
tactics, the better it is. So a lot of it is in your
power, depending on the strategy tactics you use. So Kate Bronfenbrenner,
she’s a professor of labor at Cornell
University, and she wrote a book called
Organizing to Win. How can the labor movement win? And she talked about
comprehensive campaigns, and they’re defined as
five or more tactics. So if you only use
one tactic, you’re not going to be that
effective, so if you just bear witness and stand there. But if you go door-to-door,
if you have community events, if you really have
an intense campaign, you’re going to impact
the community more. So some of it is in your hands. So we also run ad campaigns
in the subway, “Why love one but eat the other?” Toronto Pig Save. We have VR headsets. James set up that program. We do vegan outreach. We have pay-per-view
at college campuses, where we pay students $10 to
watch Cowspiracy or Earthlings. So yeah, strategy and
tactics are very important, and what’s important is
what is in your hands. It’s not so much what are
the other people going to do? What are you going to do? And are you going to do
it in a love-based way? And the more you do, and the
more people you get involved, the faster the
world will change. But yeah, we do get a
range of, I love bacon. Get a life. Get a job. All these kind of
comments from some people, but we get a lot of honks. We say “honk to show
mercy” for the pig. We get lots of honks. But the question is, how do
you get those people out there? And we found that
using all-day vigils with a guest, special guest,
more than half the people are new when we do that. The regular vigils are good
because you’re just there, you’re just building
momentum, but then you’ve got to do something special. We write to celebrities. We wrote to Djokovic,
the tennis player. We keep on writing
to celebrities trying to invite them. LA has had a lot of success,
but it’s a little more difficult in Toronto. GABRIEL WILDGEN: I
think we have time for one more question, and
then Anita, have her just sit. We’ll gather around
for a little bit so people who want to
ask questions informally can stick around. Anyone else? OK. Well, join me in thanking
Anita for coming here. [APPLAUSE]

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