On 3rd March, I joined the newly formed Oxfordshire Animal Save on their first vigil.

The animal save movement consists of grassroots groups throughout the UK and abroad.

Their intention is to shine a light on the meat industries which are hidden from public view, by witnessing the arrival of trucks of farmed animals at slaughterhouses.

Quaker Concern for Animals (QCA) was contacted by one of the organisers as she has been an occasional attender at local Quaker meetings for some years and felt the approach of the save movement was in line with Quaker values of love, non aggression and opening up to the truth.

There were 9 of us there, though I was the only QCA member (behind the camera so not in photo). Despite the incessant rain, we stayed for just under 3 hours. It was a quiet vigil rather than a protest or demonstration, which for me made it all the more poignant.

The group was full of care and support for each other and embodied the policy of non hatred whether towards truck drivers, slaughtermen or farmers.

Sometimes trucks agree to stop and let some of the group do the only thing they can for the animals, which is give them water as an act of kindness. Sadly the truck we saw refused to stop.

Nothing can compare with seeing, smelling and hearing these animals. The trucks are very high, but their eyes and noses could be seen searching out, and I felt saddened that I could not help these beautiful creatures, who wanted to live and who to me are an expression of the life energy we all share. All I could do was move away and hold my own time of worship. Yet, as Oxfordshire Animal Save states “As painful as it may seem to initiate a campaign to bear witness, it is actually empowering when done as a group”.

Absorbing all this has left me motivated to continue to challenge the accepted norm that labels these beautiful souls as food products rather than living individuals.

If you wish to learn more please go to website www.thesavemovement.org Or the Oxfordshire Animal Save facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oxfordshireanimalsave/

Julie Hinman
QCA Committee Member
Littlehampton Meeting