Her eyes were what drew me in. Between two metal slats, they stared at me. She blinked once. I reached in and stroked her ear. Tears streamed down my face–but this story is hers, not mine.*
Her story is short. She was born, surrounded by metal bars and perhaps hundreds of other pigs. She grew up on a farm. Indoors, penned, where the sun never shone. It was loud. Feces littered the floor; screams echoed through the air. The details in the days, the months, have all been lost.
One moment is still crystal clear. Inside the truck stalled at the stoplight outside an Ontario slaughterhouse on that August day in 2014, hundreds of pigs were crammed. I, along with members of Toronto Pig Save holding vigil that day, rushed up to the side of the truck. Her eyes, pale brown, caught mine. In those seconds, I sought the details of her story through the manure coating her ears and the small wounds dotting her skin. And in those seconds, I became a part of that story. In the hours to follow, I became the only living being to remember any of it.
She had no name when she died that day. And her story ended with a hot dog on a plate.
*To read the rest of my own story, check out this article at The Ecologist, in which I discuss the vigil organized by Toronto Pig Save where I met this pig with no name and what I did next. And if you want to read the more recent, moving story of the woman–Anita Krajnc, founder of TPS–who is currently on trial for giving pigs inside these trucks some water, click here.