Roxanne Kirtright stood on the corner of Railroad Street and Southeast Boulevard holding a sign with the eyes of two hogs peeping through a cage. At the top it said “She wanted to live.” “He wanted to live” is on the bottom.
As hog trucks and cars passed, four others joined her Monday morning during a demonstration held outside the Smithfield facility in Clinton. It’s one of several to be held during the week through the North Carolina Farmed Animal Save (NCFAS), a nonprofit organization that is part of a worldwide group called The Save Movement, where affiliates hold demonstrations titled “The 5 Day Save” at slaughter facilities.
“Our mission is to bear witness to animals who are involved in animals agriculture and to share information to the public about what’s going on,” Kirtright said, referring to the slaughter of animals.
During the efforts, NCFAS members will raise money for five farm animal rescues and sanctuaries: Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary, Triangle Chance for All, Trew Love Rescue & Sanctuary, and Ziggy’s Refuge. Proceeds will be divided between the organizations. Members are raising awareness through its Facebook page, Twitter and website, www.ncsave.org
Kirtright said it was the organization’s first time visiting the facility in Clinton. As cars stopped at the intersection, the group passed out information to motorist about the purpose of NCFAS, which also promotes vegan diet to end factory farming.
“Over a period of time, we want people to be comfortable with us being here,” she said. “We’re going to be back and we’ll probably be here once a month after this.”
Along with Sampson County, other scheduled stops, labeled by NCFAS as “vigils,” include locations in Bladen, Duplin and Wayne counties. Some of the mentioned facilities were Butterball, Mt. Olive; House of Raeford, Rose Hill; and another Smithfield plan in Tar Heel. After visiting the factories, pictures are shared on social media outlets to persuade the public to steer away from animal consumption.
“They can make informed decisions when they go to the grocery store,” Kirtright said. “What we’d like to see is them boycotting animal products because of the cruelties involved in the industry.”
The members understand that a lot of people depend on the facility for income and are sensitive regarding the matter. But they believe more alternatives should be explored.
“A slaughterhouse is a very tough place,” Kirtright said. “It’s tough for workers and it’s really tough on animals. They’re killed in a group gas chamber here and it’s a brutal way to die. We’re just here to talk about that and help people consider that, maybe, there’s another way of doing things.”
Dee Spencer-Carr traveled from Augusta, Ga. to join the North Carolina branch of the organization. The Georgia resident advocates for the organization in her home state.
“I think people need to be informed about the suffering of how some of their food gets on their plate,” Spencer-Carr said. “We try to do it peacefully as possible be educating them and bearing witness of animals before they go to the final slaughter. Compassion is not a crime.”