S1 E2: Anita Krajnc: How One Woman and Her Dog Started a Global Movement

Anita Kranjc is living proof that one person can create earth shattering impact, because that is exactly what she did when she made global headlines after being arrested in 2015. She was charged with criminal mischief for giving water to thirsty pigs  on their way to the slaughterhouse. And after two years awaiting trial, she was acquitted.

Her case attracted media from all over the world and brought global attention to her movement, The Toronto Pig Save – which has spawned The Save Movement: numerous Animal Saves that take place all over the planet. Each save group is shows up to their local slaughterhouse once, twice, or three times a week and bears witness to cows, pigs, chickens, fish, even whales and horses on their way to slaughter.

But it all started with one woman, Anita and her dog Mr. Beans. In 2010, she was living near a slaughterhouse in Toronto. Everyday as she walked the dog, she’d see the truckloads of terrified pigs being driven to the slaughterhouse. She wondered why no one was doing anything, and six months later, she formed the Toronto pig save, which began as a small group of people that stood vigil outside of the slaughterhouse, three times a week.

As the trucks pull into the slaughterhouse gates, they have to stop at a red light. Anita and her group (and most Save groups around the world) give water to the thirsty animals, who are often on the trucks for as long as 36 hours and are not fed nor given any water in that time. When they finally arrive they are often insane with thirst (plus, a little water is the only act of compassion that these animals ever receive in their entire miserable lives). 

Even in the beginning, with a tiny group of activists bearing witness, Anita had big ideas for the movement. She wanted and still wants all slaughterhouses to have glass walls and watching the pigs being driven into a single slaughterhouse in Toronto was a first step.

Since her arrest, the Save movement has grown into more than 330 groups in countries all over the world, including Canada, the US, Mexico, The UK, most countries in Europe, Central and South America, all over Asia, and Africa. It truly is a global movement and her goal, to see inside and bear witness to all of the slaughterhouses in the world is becoming a reality. She is exactly why we all need to Dream BIG. She is a force.

I met Anita in Toronto. The day before we met, I’d been at an all day vigil at with the Toronto Pig Save. It was my first vigil and I had no idea know what to expect. On one hand, seeing live six month old animals in abject terror, packed into truck after truck was horrifically sad and way more real than I had anticipated. But there were also many wonderful moments throughout the day. The people were kind and generous and incredibly good to me and to one another. By the time the 2nd or 3rd truck pulled in, I felt like a part of the community. 

I didn’t really understand the power of what it meant to bear witness until that day. I don’t think you can know what it is until you do it -  it’s so much bigger than I could have possibly imagined. I felt changed by the end of the day. Depressed yes but it also gave me enormous feelings of hope and connection. I’ve been vegan for a few years, but seeing animals being driven inside to their death is a whole different beast. It made me question everything that we are doing as humans to all of the other species on earth. I think it’s because you can’t deny or compartmentalize when there are living beings right there in front of you.

I met Anita and Mr. bean at her home the following day. She is an inspiration and an example to all of us that one person can indeed create a tremendous impact.

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne Mc Arthur

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne Mc Arthur

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne Mc Arthur

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne Mc Arthur