Author and Activist Judy Carmen's words about the IBP Vigil and memorial for the cows on Oct. 11, 2003
"On October 11, 2003, 25 activists from Lawrence, Kansas City, and Emporia, KS, stood together in a silent memorial for three hours in pouring rain and bitter north winds. Most of us had come unprepared for the weather, because it was sunny and fairly warm in the morning. Some had umbrellas, but very few had jackets, and some brave souls stood without jackets or umbrellas for the entire three hours. Many commented that what kept them going was the constant awareness that farmed animals endure so much worse than that. Gandhi and King both stressed that the willingness of an activist to suffer arouses the conscience of the opponent.
We stood on all four corners in front of the IBP Slaughterhouse, which is in the city of Emporia, while a constant stream of traffic passed us. We wore black, carried flowers, and held signs and banners, all of which were in black and white. Our banners read "In Memory of the 3500 Cows Killed by IBP Daily."
Many trucks filled with cows bound for the kill floor passed by us within just a few feet of where we were standing. We could see their faces and look into their eyes. It was heartbreaking, and, at the same time, confirming that we needed to be right where we were. Each one of us, in our own ways, sent our love to them as they passed by. And each one of us was bearing witness to their suffering, and that is a great act of mercy. How we longed to be able to liberate them and stop the madness. Martin Luther King said "The non-violent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources and strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality."
We stood as flames of light in one of the darkest and saddest places on this earth, and with our hearts we spoke to the animals of earth, and we said, "We will not stop until all people hear your cries. We will not stop until the last factory farm closes its doors and you are all free. We will not stop until all people learn to live in harmony in the great web of life. We will not stop until the terrorism and war on all animals is over. Dear animals of the earth, we are here for you. We will fight for you and give you a voice until your freedom is won." And as we said last year, there is no power greater than Love, and on October 11, 2003, Love came to Emporia's IBP Slaughterhouse.
Albert Schweitzer said, "We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it."
Together, with animal rights groups around the world, we're doing just that."
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