Why DxE Wednesday VI: Jenny Henry
This is the latest installment in a series of interviews with DxE activists conducted by Rachel Waite, who is part of the blog team and an organizer for DxE Grand Rapids (MI)
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and join DxE?
One day on my way to work, a truck full of pigs on their way to slaughter pulled up beside me. The look on their faces was indescribable. I wanted so badly to help them!! This one experience inspired me to start researching animal agriculture, become vegan, and join Toronto Pig Save and become an activist.
Months later I saw a video on Facebook of a DxE protest in the States. I was so inspired. I loved the bold approach and how unapologetically they spoke the truth about what is happening to animals. I knew this was something we needed to do in Toronto, too, so I reached out to DxE and started a group here.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
We disrupted an animal auction at the Royal Agriculture Fair. They were auctioning off baby calves in front of a huge audience of dairy farmers. It was sickening to watch. They were poking and prodded these frightened babies to get them to walk around the stage, while the auctioneer talked about them as if they were mere objects whose sole purpose was to be exploited for profit.
After a few minutes of watching this, we got our signs out, stood in front of the stage and chanted “Their lives; not ours,” “Their babies; not ours,” until security escorted us out.
It was a difficult protest (we were throwing ourselves into a hostile environment), and very emotional (we had to leave those poor babies behind), but I’ve never been more proud. We confronted this evil head on, and spoke boldly for the animals on that stage. The protest also made it into the Toronto Star and Now Magazine, making people think about, and hopefully question, this cruel practice.
Q: In Toronto, there is a thriving DxE chapter led by yourself and others, and a strong animal rights movement with other well-known groups like Toronto Pig Save. To what do you attribute the growth of the movement in Toronto?
We have created an animal rights community in Toronto that loves, inspires, and supports each other. We have so many incredible activists, organizers, photographers, YouTubers, cooks, healers, rescuers, and the list goes on. We don’t just fight together, but we socialize together, and we are there for each other when someone is in need. We are a family. When I reflect on it all, I can’t help but think how lucky we are, and there is no question in my mind that we’ll continue to grow.
Q: What keeps you motivated in your activism?
I think about who I’m fighting for. They are never far from my mind, and that’s enough to keep me going.
When I start to lose hope, I remember what MLK said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I have faith in my fellow activists and faith in the good of humanity. In the end, justice will prevail. I know this.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
It will be hard, but it will be worth it.
Q: Why animal liberation?
Because larger cages and slightly better treatment is not good enough. Animals deserve to be free just like you and me; free from exploitation and abuse; free to live out their lives in peace. We owe that to them.