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Activist protests violence against animals with 5-day fast outside meat processing plant in London

Scott James Hoskins stands outside of the Cargill meat processing plant in London on August 24, 2016.
Scott James Hoskins stands outside of the Cargill meat processing plant in London on August 24, 2016. Liny Lamberink/AM980

Nearing the end of a five day fast, Scott James Hoskins described moments of exhaustion and exuberance that come, simultaneously.

“I’m forced to go slow, and take my time. I can feel every part of my foot touch the ground when I walk. I’m right in the moment.”

Standing across the street from the Cargill meat processing plant in London’s east end with a handful of other London Chicken Save members, Hoskins told AM980 he began the fast on Saturday as something of a penance for the time he spent in facility years ago, doing the very thing he’s protesting against now: killing chickens.

“It was this plant, but it was Cuddy Foods at the time, ” Hoskins began. He spent roughly a year in the boning department, before transferring to plant’s live-receive department.

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“You have three seconds to grab a bird, and slap it on a shackle. That doesn’t give you time to look at that being, to see that it’s panting, to see that it’s scared of what it’s experiencing.”

If a bird was too small, it might jam some of the machinery used to hang it. In that case, Hoskins said he’d use a knife to cut it’s juglar, or would have to use his own hands to break its neck.

“The times I did that, were the times that resonated that somethings not right here. Now I see the whole thing is not morally right.”

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As part of The Save Movement — a worldwide network of animal rights groups who also advocate for veganism — Hoskins and members of the London Chicken Save started spending five days outside of the plant on Monday at 6 a.m.

Some of their signs read “two minutes,” which they hold up when livestock trailers drive by, in hopes of spreading their message.

“We’re not looking to shut them down, or put people out of work at all. That’s not the goal here,” said Hoskins.

“The point is to really expose. To stand back and say nothing is facilitating that, and whether its a human rights issue or an animal rights issue, it’s a rights issue. These animals are being created with the sole purpose of being used and killed, and that’s just not a world I want to live in.”

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Hoskins hopes that one day, Cargill will switch over to producing plant-based proteins instead. Recognizing that it probably won’t happen during his lifetime, he remains optimistic.

“I don’t think we’re destined to remain being violent.”