A VEGAN campaign group called Leicestershire Animal Save is holding roadside vigils in Melton Mowbray, during which they whisper caring phrases to cattle bound for an abattoir. The group’s founder, former solicitor Dina Aherne, 28, said they had an agreement with the slaughterhouse to ‘comfort’ the animals inside their trailers once a month.

‘We want to make the cows feel at ease every time because they are living and sacred beings,’ she said. ‘Cows have a living soul and conscience. We really want to help comfort them. We stop each of the trucks and are given two minutes to say the last goodbyes before they go and get a bolt gun put through their head. We whisper phrases to them like “We’re sorry”, “We see you” and “I love you”.’ 

At the same time, prayer vigils held near abortion clinics, seeking to save the lives of humans and give moral and practical support to expectant mothers, are being banned as an affront to civilisation. It says a lot about our society when farm animals – which know nothing of their fate and are likely to be disturbed by strange humans coming close to them – are considered more human than actual human beings. There is more than coincidence in this juxtaposition; surely what we are witnessing is a post-Christian society determined to strip human rights from the most vulnerable humans and hand them to animals. It bodes ill for the future, for as John Donne wrote, ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’

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