Group wants pigs to feel the love…before becoming bacon

  • COUNTERPOINT — Demonstrators grill up bacon, burgers, and other meats to counter the arguments of members of the Save Movement who were protesting the slaughter of animals at Adams Farm (visible in the background near the entrance) in Athol, Wednesday morning. GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 2/7/2019 10:00:41 PM

ATHOL — A group calling itself Western Massachusetts Animal Save held a vigil at Adams Farm on Bearsden Road Wednesday morning. The organization said it chose the Athol farm because it is “the closest USDA certified slaughterhouse.”

Eli Hamel, who made the trip from Boston to participate in the protest, said, “The purpose (of the event) is to give a face to the victims. When we go to the supermarket to buy meat and dairy and eggs we don’t see the animals, the individuals who produced them; whose body parts they are that they once belonged to. The whole idea is that we can, before they go in, offer them any comfort if we get the chance to interact with them before they go their demise.”

Hamel said the Save Movement differs from other animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

“We try to go to the slaughterhouses themselves,” he said. “We remain respectful of the individuals who are there.”

“We’re very much different in that our practice is based on love and compassion,” said Ethan Blake of Deerfield, “bearing witness to the animals before they’re slaughtered for their flesh. PETA also uses different methods of advertisement. We don’t do any kind of advertising that portrays anyone in a negative light.”

Blake said the group always notifies targets of protests before showing up on site.

“We try to be as transparent as possible,” he explained. “The reason that we’re here is because (Adams Farm) granted us this small section of land for us to do our protest. Our main goal is to see the animals, which is closer to where the kill-floor is, but we weren’t able to get that close. So, we’re very respectful of the general manager and the owners. We’re not trying to cause any harm to anyone. We just want to see the animals, that’s all.”

“In a perfect world,” interjected Hamel, “we would give animals the same basic respect that they’d want for themselves, because in the most fundamental way they are the same as us. They can suffer, they can feel joy and well-being and, because it’s not necessary for us to eat meat or dairy or eggs, it makes it a cruel act to rob them of their lives – to confine them or enslave them and abuse them – for products that we don’t even need. We actually do better without them in our diet.”

“And not only is it bad for our bodies,” added Steve Brown of Sterling, “it’s also bad for the environment.”

While about a dozen members of the Save Movement picketed at the entrance to Adams Farm, a small counter protest was taking place about 75 yards away. Around ten people were on hand to show support for the farm and its activities. No signs were carried; these folks got their point across by using a gas grill, bacon, burgers, and the scent of cooking meat to get their point across.

One of the counter demonstrators, who wished not to be identified, said, “We’re here because people should be able to choose how they want to live and what they want to eat. And it makes me mad that those people are interfering with the jobs of the people who work here. Right now, they’re just standing around doing nothing because people who were coming here to do business just turned around and drove off because they didn’t want to have to put up with their s***.”

A couple of Athol Police cruisers made a brief visit to the farm, but the protest – and the counter demonstrators – remained peaceful before leaving the scene shortly after 10 a.m.

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