Strolling toward the crosswalk on Bloor West this afternoon, my mind was simultaneously distracted and engaged in that curious state of brain fog that unfailingly accompanies having a cell phone in hand.
And then I glanced up.
In the space of a moment I was brought abruptly to awareness of my surroundings by a sight so startling that all of my senses immediately woke up.
A man was walking ahead of me within arm’s reach with three pigs draped over his shoulder and hanging down his back. Whole pigs. Full bodied pigs. Recently killed pigs. Shaved hair, flopping ears, soft closed eyes and delicate pink mouths.
It took me a minute to register what I was seeing before I stopped in my tracks and said out loud, “oh my god”. Other passersby observed the man and his cargo with varying expressions of curiosity, disgust, shock, pain, confusion and sadness. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I was transfixed. Paralyzed. And then I realized I was standing beside a van marked “xxx Ontario Fresh Meats”. I watched the man cross to the other side of the street and enter a restaurant. The last thing I saw was the detailed features on the faces of the pigs as they disappeared from view. This visual will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Recognizing that I was seeing the pigs in their true, real, whole forms for the last time before they were to be torn apart and presented on dinner plates squeezed my heart to the point of physical pain.
The image of these helpless creatures so carelessly tossed over a man’s shoulder in full display on a city street shifted something inside me and brought to life a new level of consciousness. The very existence of these beings mattered for their own sake — not for ours. Did the other observers see what I saw? Feel what I felt? Form an impression? Make a connection?
These questions inspired me to begin writing publicly, here and there, about this and that.
I am vegan, forever and always. And this is my first blog.
Peace to ALL.