Dedicated animal rights activists convinced a slaughterhouse owner to spare one lamb from being killed over the Easter weekend.

The Toronto-based activists had come to Newmarket for a break-of-dawn vigil last week, organized by Katie Barber of Aurora’s Animal Rights Advocates, at King Cole Ducks, Canada’s largest duck slaughterhouse. 

Photo: Louise Jorgensen

At the same time, a few decided to reach out to a neighbouring lamb slaughterhouse. During a spur-of-the-moment visit, Anita Krajnc and Paul Bali made their appeal for “this small Easter mercy” to Newmarket Meat Packers co-founder Gino Plastino and his son.

Krajnc founded The Save Movement, a network of groups around the world who bear witness of pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals en route to slaughter. Their goals are to raise awareness about the plight of farmed animals, to help people become vegan, and to build a mass-based, grassroots animal justice movement. 

Bali, professor of philosophy at Ryerson University, established the Save Response Team, a group that coordinates with a number of Ontario farm sanctuaries. Last October, the Save Response Team helped place a couple of calves at Wishing Well Sanctuary.

Bali told Plastino that if Newmarket Meat Packers could spare it, he could find a permanent home for one lamb. After a ten-minute conversation Plastino agreed to give the group a lamb on the Thursday before Good Friday.

Later on, Newmarket Meat Packers co-owner Nick D’Elia confirmed the agreement in writing.

“In light of it being Easter and with everyone in good spirits we would like to extend a lamb offering to your group”, said D’Elia. ”Although we may always agree to disagree, please respect the fact that we are providing a service for people with wants.”

In the meantime, Krajnc and Bali worked on arranging a permanent home for the animal at Wishing Well Sanctuary in Bradford, Ontario.

“I am delighted and honoured to rescue one lamb in the spirit of Easter and Passover,” said Brenda Bronfman, founder of Wishing Well Sanctuary. “We look forward to welcoming this one little lamb to the Wishing Well Sanctuary family.”

Six-month-old Meadow left Newmarket Meat Packers at 10 am on Thursday and headed for Wishing Well, where it was welcomed by Bronfman and other activists.

“We welcome this gesture from Gino and Nick,” said Bali.  

“While friends of animals can never stop fighting for their freedom and security, this Easter we are in strange solidarity with one action, at one slaughterhouse.  One life, one lamb, is everything. This is why each must be free.”

John Bonnar

John Bonnar is an independent journalist producing print, photo, video and audio stories about social justice issues in and around Toronto.