How I Became An Animal Activist

Posted in: Activism


The first protest I participated in was at the Ringling Brother’s Circus where we stood up against the unnecessary harm and confinement of the animals used for entertainment. I saw videos online of how the trainers punish the elephants with bullhooks and whips if they were to do the tricks incorrectly or not comply to what the trainer wanted. “How can people do such horrible things to these animals,” I asked myself. This was my first step into the realm of animal activism and, later on, veganism.

The protest happened over a year ago in April 2015 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. This is where I first met Rachel who got me interested in Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). She asked me if I ate meat which seemed like such a weird question at the time. However, there I was protesting the cruelty and captivity of elephants, tigers and horses, yet I hadn’t even considered the animals I consumed everyday.

“Animals aren’t suffering before they are on my plate,” I told myself until I looked into how animals are bred, raised and killed for our consumption. Over the next few months I learned about the harsh treatment that animals go through from birth until they are slaughtered to be packaged and sold as meat. Upon investigating this, I went vegetarian. A week later, after watching the documentary Cowspiracy, I decided to go vegan. Becoming aware of the ridiculous amount of resources animal agriculture uses to produce food, I decided to go vegan instantaneously. For me, veganism was initially about sustainability and having the least impact on the planet. It soon transformed into more…

Fast forward a year later, I was invited to Toronto by a friend to attend a Close All Slaughterhouses march, volunteer at Esther’s Farm Animal Sanctuary and do 3 slaughterhouse vigils. This week molded me into the animal activist I am today.

On the first day, over 1,000 other animal rights activists gathered to march to Close All Slaughterhouses. We covered the streets with signs saying, “STOP KILLING ANIMALS,” and “END THE SLAUGHTER” while we chanted “There’s no excuse for animal abuse”. In the middle of the march, we stopped to do a die-in on the pavement and under a clear audio of factory farmed pigs screaming for their lives. In the audio we heard the pigs fight to breathe until their voices slowly faded away. When the screams went silent everyone laid down and stopped all noise and movement. After about a minute, we stood back up to finish our march. The action was very powerful and moving. It was over 90 degrees and we marched a total of an hour and a half.

The next day my girlfriend, Olivia, and I, along with a few friends, went to Happily Ever Esther’s Farm Sanctuary to volunteer. The namesake of the sanctuary Esther, was the first pig to be rescued as a “tea cup pig” but grew to be over 600 lbs. Esther lives a very comfortable life – eating and sleeping as much as she wants. Esther, as well as other pigs in sanctuaries, are safe from the horrors of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and slaughterhouses . The farm takes care of many other animals; sheep, goats, chickens, horses, and even a peacock.
We cleaned up after the animals, got them new bedding, and fed them. The animals loved to be petted and loved on. The way all the animals smiled at me when I fed and pet them were so similar to how another human would when they were content. These animals were all so beautiful with different personalities and had the chance to experience life. I left the sanctuary that day so overjoyed with how well these animals were treated.

The last day of action was the Toronto slaughterhouse vigils. We stood outside of Quality Meat Packers (QMP) Slaughterhouse which kills 6,000 pigs a day. Trucks packed with pigs went through a gate to deliver pigs ready for slaughter at the facility. We couldn’t stop the trucks from delivery so we asked for 3 minutes of time with the pigs before they went into the slaughterhouse.

I looked into the eyes of these defenseless animals and the looks they had on their faces were the complete opposite of those at the farm sanctuary. The pigs were scared, injured, and confused and were so overwhelmed with being cramped in the tractor trailer. They also had to deal with the stress of heat, no water, no food and hours of standing inside a moving vehicle. Pigs in the truck had signs of abuse all over their bodies; cuts, bruises, swells and other visible evidence of abuse.

We tried to show them as much compassion as we could before they went in to be slaughtered. We gave them water and they willingly accepted, being very dehydrated. We pet their snouts and let them sniff our fingers for comfort. We told them, “Everything will be okay. This will end.” The look of sadness on their faces versus the looks the sanctuary pigs gave me brought this powerful feeling of hopelessness. The 3 minutes of time for the truck to stop was over so the driver proceeded through the gate as we unblocked the entrance. QMP uses gas chambers to kill a multitude of pigs at a low cost of gas. For 20 minutes we heard pigs screaming and squealing as they are asphyxiated. All the pigs we interacted with were brutally slaughtered within minutes.

This was the first time I had ever cried over knowing that animals are being slaughtered. Olivia saw the look on my face and started crying too. We held one another tight feeling defeated. Esther gets to live such a worry-free and safe life, why can’t they? Why must they suffer? “How can anyone be okay with doing this to innocent beings,” I asked myself. That moment, I realized that fighting for animals is necessary. CAFOs and slaughterhouses must cease to exist, not for the environment, not for our health, not to prevent climate change. No, none of that, but for the sole purpose of letting the animals free of exploitation and suffering.

We do not have time to wait – this happens to animals every second, every minute, every hour of every day. This is why I fight; to free animals from the unnecessary torture and brutal slaughter in which humans put them through. This is what activism means to me.

Amine Mohamad
Direct Action Everywhere- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Amine Person on Facebook @Amineemeen on Twitter I Snapchat I Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.