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Photo/ELLI GARLIN

Photo/ELLI GARLIN

As many of you know, last summer Toronto activist Anita Krajnc was arrested and charged with criminal mischief after giving water to a pig inside a truck bound for a slaughterhouse. Video of the alleged crime shows pigs on the lower deck of the truck panting and Anita reaching in to give one water from a bottle while the truck is stopped at a traffic light in Burlington, Ontario. It shows the driver getting out and telling Anita not to put water in the truck. She responds by quoting Jesus: “If they are thirsty, give them water.” The driver replies, “You know what? These are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad.”

Anita is a co-founder of the nonprofit Toronto Pig Save, whose members bear witness to animals arriving for slaughter, often stopping trucks and giving water to thirsty pigs. She says offering water to a thirsty pig is an act of compassion. “It is not only a right, but a duty we all share. Causing the pigs to suffer in the first place is what is wrong. I face these criminal charges with dignity, knowing that truth and justice are on my side.” TPS-bearingwitness1

She faces up to 6 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Anita’s trial begins August 24, and in a show of solidarity, activists will be gathering for a vigil outside the Ontario Court of Justice courthouse at 8:30 am on the 24th and 25th: 2051 Plains Rd E, Burlington, Ontario L7R 5A5.

What You Can Do:

Attend the vigil. For further information or to confirm attendance, please contact Anita Krajnc or Jenny McQueen, co-organizers of Toronto Pig Save, at 416-825-6080; email: torontopigsave@gmail.com.

Sign the Compassion Isn’t a Crime Petition

Support Toronto Pig Save (TPS)

Order a Compassion Is Not a Crime t-shirt

Visit the TPS Facebook page

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Shortly after Striking at the Roots was published, I embarked on another literary endeavor: a book about animal suffering that takes into account the many forms of exploitation that do not receive a lot of mainstream media attention. We see, read, and hear so much about animals raised for food, for example, but how often do we see a story—or even a Twitter post—concerning donkeys who toil in the brick industry, or pigeon shoots, or bear baiting, or the plight of birds in the feather industry, or xenotransplantation, or bestiality? The distressing roll call of animal abuse goes on and on.

BleatingHeartsLittle did I know in 2008 that Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering would consume five years of my life, researching or writing nearly every day. I am so pleased to say the book is being released this month in both print and electronic form (it’s already available from some online sellers). In addition to covering lesser-known topics, Bleating Hearts examines issues we hear about, such as animal testing, but may not fully understand. The contents include:

Chapter 1 – Bleating Hearts: Animals Used for Food

Chapter 2 – Dressed to Kill: Animals Used for Fashion

Chapter 3 – Trials and Errors: Animal Testing

Chapter 4 – Poachers, Pills, and Politics: The Persecution of Wild Animals

Chapter 5 – Ruthless Roundup: Animals Used in Sports

Chapter 6 – The Age of Aquariums: Animals Used in Entertainment

Chapter 7 – Animal Rites: Animals as Sacrificial Victims

Chapter 8 – Conceptual Cruelty: Animals Used in Art

Chapter 9 – The Horse Before the Cart: Working Animals

Chapter 10 – Secret Abuse: Sexual Assault on Animals

Chapter 11 – Achieving Moral Parity

That last chapter is a Q&A session with some of the leading voices in the animal rights movement. I couldn’t spend 10 chapters exploring many of the cruelest abuses imaginable and not end the book with some ray of hope. So I turned to Carol Adams, Marc Bekoff, Mylan Engel Jr., Harold Herzog, James McWilliams, and Richard Ryder, who all respond to questions relating to what it might take for animals to receive full moral parity with human beings. I think you’ll find their insights genuinely fascinating.

Here’s a short video interview I did with activist Michelle Taylor Cehn of Vegan Break that explains a bit about the book and why I wrote it. I was also on Our Hen House recently discussing the book in a little more depth.

I see Bleating Hearts as a companion to Striking at the Roots—one book examining animal exploitation and the other giving advocates tools to campaign against it.

Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save, lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project, Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals, and Mark Hawthorne

Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save, lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project, Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals, and Mark Hawthorne

I am especially pleased that the book features a cover photo by Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals. (You may know Jo-Anne as the human subject of the new documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine.) Jo-Anne took the photograph during one of the vigils organized by Toronto Pig Save, an organization founded by the tireless activist Anita Krajnc. The group bears witness to the suffering of animals raised and slaughtered for food, and lauren and I were delighted to spend some time with Anita and Jo-Anne in Toronto a couple weeks ago. We participated in a demo outside one of the city’s slaughterhouses, and I was more than a little surprised to see Anita not only speak to the owner, but present him with a copy of Forks Over Knives, which he promised to watch!

Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering is available from the usual online book sellers in several countries, but if you can, I’m hoping you will support your local independent bookstore or the animal rights groups and vegan e-tailers that will carry it, such as Herbivore and Vegan Essentials. Please check my website for updates. Thanks!


Welcome to the official blog for Striking at the Roots by Mark Hawthorne, your source for interviews, profiles, and advice for more effective animal activism.

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