Why Animal Advocacy Matters – A Letter to the Editor

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This was a letter to the editor of the York Daily Record written by Joe Kirkenir


We at Animal Advocates of South Central PA promote a compassionate and healthy vegan lifestyle, which aligns with our values of nonviolence and respect for all living creatures. There are countless statistics that show how impactful refraining from animal-based products can be. By becoming vegan, a single person can save over 350 individual animals, 400,000 gallons of water, 10,900 square feet of rainforest, 14,600 pounds of grain, and 7,300 pounds of CO2 a year. However, when one looks at the impact of our use of animal products through the eyes of the victims (the animals), our mission becomes much more urgent.


Imagine you are born into a dark and overcrowded enclosure full of your brothers and sisters. The enclosure is dirty and has holes in the floor making it extremely uncomfortable. Before you even know who your mother is, you are ripped away from her and dropped into a pen with countless other piglets. Your source of milk is some strange sow who is crammed into a tiny cage, unable to move, and is most certainly not your mother. Unknown to you, workers regarded your mother as “too old” and “used up,” quickly sending her to slaughter for her body to be processed into low-grade dog food.


Day after day, you are fed unnatural food, laden with hormones and antibiotics and, before you know it, you and your now-former piglets have outgrown your pen. Workers, instead of moving you to a larger pen and giving you more room, put you in a crate so small you cannot even turn around. The food laced with hormones keeps coming and you keep growing. Without being able to use your legs, they quickly become useless, making it impossible for you to adjust your body and forcing you to lay in your own bodily waste.


You are not a mindless animal. You are actually more intelligent and social than dogs and are fully aware of your situation. Your suffering is short-lived. As soon as you are large enough to produce enough bacon for hungry Americans, you are sent to the slaughterhouse. Your ride to the factory is freezing – the temperature was below freezing on an open-air transport truck. Some of your friends, brothers, and sisters actually freeze to the truck, skin attached to the metal by ice. Once you get to the building, you are chained upside-down to a conveyor belt and “humanely” slaughtered by being stunned and having your throat slit open. Your life has been nothing but misery and pain so that people can satisfy their palettes. Your only crime was being born a pig.


We at Animal Advocates know that this treatment of animals is unnecessary and unethical. We advocate for the victims of animal agriculture and the benefits of a plant-based vegan lifestyle at dozens of community events throughout York and South Central Pennsylvania. We are an all-volunteer organization and rely on the generosity of donors to pay for the literature, food samples, virtual reality equipment, and promotional materials that are essential for reaching the hearts and minds of others.


We also offer several exciting programs to promote compassion to animals. We have a local vegan mentoring program for anyone who needs guidance, are currently offering our first Vegan Challenge in May, and we distribute our Vegan Guide for South Central PA online and in printed form. Also, be on the lookout for some dynamic billboards in the near future!


Please consider coming out and supporting us during Give Local York on May 4. We will be on Beaver Street, in front of Vault Video Games, with a pig named Pumpkin and free vegan bacon samples, spreading the word about our mission. You can donate online at https://givelocalyork.org//designee/animal-advocates-of-south-central-pa Any money we collect throughout the day will be used to support our outreach work and a large community event we are planning – Harvest Vegfest.


Harvest Vegfest will give a spotlight to the wonderful abundance of local produce of York County and the surrounding area​​. It​ will be a free, community-centered event, which will focus on healthy, sustainable, and compassionate living. There will be food, vendors, kids’ activities​ speakers, cooking demonstrations, a pie eating contest, ​live entertainment, and more! By celebrating all things vegan in an entertaining, accessible, and family-friendly way, Harvest Vegfest will ensure that fewer animals have to needlessly suffer while bringing business to York County!


Give local. Improve York. Save animals.


It’s that easy!


Joseph Kirkenir

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