Activism has taken an interesting turn with a movement that was started by Sasha Boojor, 27, from Tel Aviv, which led to three activists branding themselves in public with the number “269″ in an effort to raise awareness about the things that are done to anonymous farm animals every day.
The number 269 was chosen because it was the number given to a white calf who was born on an Israeli dairy farm and destined for the slaughterhouse. His life mimics millions of other calves who are removed almost immediately from their mothers, marked with tags and brands and shipped off to a feedlot for fattening before finally being sent to a slaughterhouse and killed. Calf 269 isn’t special. He was just noticed and the group hopes that he will give an identity to all of the millions upon millions of individuals like him who are exploited, overlooked and forgotten.
We’re easily touched by stories of individual animals, their personalities and their ability to forgive, love and enjoy life and are equally horrified by graphic images of the stark reality and cruel industry practices that many of these animals are forced to live though. But the ones who are saved whose stories reach the public are only a lucky few who, like calf 269, are ever recognized, while billions of others live and die in the shadows. Their individual personalities, desires, fear, pain and distress seem to go without consideration as consumers continue to contribute to the mass exploitation, intensive confinement, mutilation and slaughter of species used in agriculture on a daily basis.
“This anonymous male calf will be forever immortalized on our bodies, and hopefully this message of solidarity will somehow bring a new way of looking at non-human animals. No animal should be exploited to satisfy the selfish needs and whimsical desires of humans, and that is why we chose to use the industry’s own method of objectifying living beings as this symbolic means to convey our idea,” the group 269life writes on its website.
Since this movement started, it has gained traction around the world with hundreds of people joining and attending events, many of whom have since tattooed the number on their bodies in solidarity, while a few others have withstood hot branding the way it’s done to calves – each with their own beliefs, stories and reasons for participating. An estimated 800 people in different parts of the world were tattooed on World Vegan Day last November 1, reports Haaretz.
“We aim to bring the pain and horror other animals face each and every day out of the suppressed darkness and into the realm of everyday life,” states the group.
After recently coming under fire, and investigation, for leaving animal heads and dying the water red in fountains in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, Bojoor told Haaretz, ďa few meters from every fountain there is a supermarket filled with carcasses of those animals. I think itís a bit over the top to set up a special police team for food coloring in fountains. Itís not clear why people are shocked by the sight of animal heads but are perfectly calm when they eat other animal organs.”
Warning: this video contains violent images.
Photo credit: 269life