Peaceful animal welfare advocates — including celebrity Moby — will gather for five nights of vigils to bear witness to the closure of the Farmer John slaughterhouse with the final killing of pigs taking place inside, away from public eyes.

For years, activists — led by the L.A. Animal Save Movement and the Animal Alliance Network — have peacefully protested the massive slaughter of pigs via outside vigils, offering water and human touch to pigs in trucks idling outside the slaughterhouse gates, handing out vegan food to slaughterhouse workers, and befriending sympathetic law enforcement.

In Summer 2022, parent company Smithfield announced the closure of the slaughterhouse, citing rising costs of doing business in California, according to news reports. The slaughterhouse’s last day of operation is Feb. 3. 

The first four nights of vigils will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, Jan. 29 through Feb. 1. The final two vigils, on Feb. 2 and 3, will take place from until 7 a.m., or “until the last pig arrives,” according to a press release.

All vigils will feature speakers, activities, and food and will take place outside of the Farmer John Slaughterhouse, located at 3049 E. Vernon Ave in Los Angeles, just ten minutes from downtown.

Activists also are requesting mercy for the final pig slated for slaughter, with an animal sanctuary on standby to provide permanent refuge and transport also arranged should parent company Smithfield grant approval. 

Smithfield Vice President Jim Monroe told Lady Freethinker the company is not going to consider the request.

“Smithfield and the contract hog farmers we partner with raise livestock so we can provide affordable, safe and nutritious protein,” he said via email. “It would be a disservice to these farmers and the time and resources they have invested to raise these food animals to consider such a request.”

L.A. Animal Save Movement

L.A. Animal Save Movement Outside of Farmer John (Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, WEANIMALS)

Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix, who has regularly attended the vigils, applauded the slaughterhouse’s closure as “the end of a chapter in a book that is still being written, a book in which we continue to advocate for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems.”

While Phoenix won’t be able to attend the final 5-day vigil, he praised the L.A. Animal Save Movement and other activists for keeping their demonstrations both effective and peaceful.

 “I am thankful to L.A. Animal Save and everyone in this community who has shown these animals the only kindness and respect they have ever known,” Phoenix said.  “You have taken the pain of bearing witness, and turned it into effective, peaceful, diplomatic advocacy for animals.”

He added, “Although it saddens me that I can’t be there at this time, it’s been my privilege to stand alongside these activists, and it’s our duty to continue this fight.”

A petition to save the final pig who steps off the trucks had earned more than 800 signatures as of Jan. 27.  

Activists also have reportedly spoken with Smithfield Vice President Jim Monroe asking for an expansion of the company’s plant-based line Pure Farmland and a shift to all plant-based products. Campaigners with Animal Alliance Network noted the move would be “better for their business and employees in the long run” and that “slaughterhouse work is at the top of the most dangerous and traumatic work a person can do.”

Confirmed speakers include musician Moby, State Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), and journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell. Other celebrities who plan to attend include actor Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Tiffany Lonsdale (Siren), and Danielle MacDonald (Bird Box). 

And remember – we can all help sensitive and intelligent pigs like the ones killed at Farmer John everyday by opting for plant-based ham, planted-based bacon, and plant-based sausage, which are readily available at grocery stores across the United States.

All the Details

WHO: Animal Save Movement, Animal Alliance, peaceful activists

WHAT: 5 nights of vigils to bear witness to the closure of Farmer John Slaughterhouse and the final killings of pigs

WHERE: Farmer John Clogherty Packing Co, 3049 E. Vernon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90058

WHEN: Sunday – Wednesday, Jan. 29 through Feb. 1, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. AND Thursday – Friday,  Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.