Norwich City Centre Holds a Candlelit Vigil for Local Farm Animals

It was such an uncharacteristically warm evening for late October that I arrived at Norfolk and Suffolk Animal Save‘s first ‘Candlelit Vigil’ in only a t-shirt. Most of the usual faces I have come to know well over the past year whilst standing outside slaughterhouses were in attendance. Soft music played from a bluetooth speaker on a table beside a moving scene of cards, framed photographs and notes. I placed down a couple of prints of ‘Here With Us’ and ‘No Humane Way’ as my contribution and watched the pubic’s reactions as they curiously peered at the gathering.

I originally had a some reservations about this method of activism. Would passers-by think it was absurd for a strange group of people to publicly hold some kind of funeral for a bunch of pigs and chickens that were processed to become the very food they ate that day? Would this method of getting their attention act as a disservice to the animals if the public wrote off our actions as insane and unrelatable? As with most things, the only way to know is to experience it yourself and the only way to succeed is to try.

The candles and pictures certainly lured them in closer. People bent down to read the notes and activists were on hand to answer any questions from anyone who wished to understand more. I was touched by the respect many people seemed to give for those they may have never considered as individuals beyond their chicken and bacon sandwiches before. All in all, those doing outreach and speaking with people directly were in agreement that it had opened the hearts and minds of those who would have otherwise shuffled home from work or shopping without a thought for who they might be eating that night.

It’s World Vegan Day today and a very important day for me personally. I see it as a day to reflect on the activism from the past year. As always, the memories are bittersweet. As we stood for a two minutes silence at the end of the candlelit vigil, I broke down in tears. Every framed photo, every foam board, every drawing and every image there on the ground in front of us was of a murdered individual. They had hopes and dreams, as well as likes and dislikes as personal as yours and mine. They had personalities and character, yet they were treated like objects grown for their very bodies to be harvested. Their flesh was never their own. I’ve seen so many hundreds of them driven to their deaths – for the sake of money, tradition, habit, taste and greed. To be consumed by the loved ones that surround me that would never hurt an animal with their own hands. But that’s precisely why we need to continue trying. Most people buying into these industries are compassionate and most of us were in their position before we learned how unnecessary the suffering of animals really is. The good news is that we have the truth on our side and that a vegan world is inevitable. We only wish to help it get here as soon as possible.

With World Cube Day on 5th November, my home town of Norwich is set to witness the most effective vegan activism it’s ever seen. Veganism is growing and every year I look back and realise how far we have come even if the fight is far from over.

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