Twyla Francois – ko se borba za pravice živali kanalizira v umetnost


Slika pujsa, ki strmi skozi s soncem obsijano okno, medtem ko na steni njegova senca odseva neizbežno prihodnost, ki ga čaka, je ena najbolj priljubljenih slik, ki jo zagovorniki farmskih živali delijo po svetovnem spletu. 

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‘Pig shadow’ pa je le eno od izjemno zgovornih umetniških del, ki v zadnjem času nastajajo pod roko Twyle Francois.  

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 Kanadčanka Twyle Francois je dolgoletna aktivistka in preiskovalka zlorabljanja in trpinčenja farmskih živali. Njen posnet material, v katerem so prikazane zlorabe, mučenja in kruto ravnanje z živalmi, je danes vključen v številne dokumentarne filme: No Country For AnimalsFood For Thought, Cruel BusinessThese Little PiggiesBetes a bord, No Country For Horses

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Vse skupaj pa se je začelo leta nazaj. Kot 13 letno dekle je Twyla po kruti izkušnji s teletom, ki ga je ljubeče vzgajala, potem pa je bil kot je to običajno, prodan za meso, prenehala jesti meso in postala vegetarijanka. 

Potem ko je kot odrasla več let živela kot povsem običajen pisarniški uslužbenec, pa je svoje življenje dokončno zapisala dokumentiranju zlorab in trpljenja farmskih živali, ko jo je doletela huda bolezen, zaradi katere je bila prisiljena, kot pravi sama, na novo določiti prioritete v svojem življenju. 

Tako je v času okrevanja po operacijah in kemoterapiji, ustanovila neprofitno organizacijo za zaščito farmskih živali. In začela prejemati fotografije zlorabljenih pujsov iz soseščine.

Zlorabe je začela tudi sama fotografirati in snemati ter zbirati material, ki ga je nato posredovala pristojnim inštitucijam ter medijem. Kljub temu, da pristojne inštitucije niso imele posluha in da je ugotovila, da pravni sistem ne ščiti farmskih živali, pa je njen material dobil podporo medijev in javnosti, kar ji je dalo dodaten zagon.

Kajti, kot pravi sama, prepričana je bila, da Kanadčani nikoli ne bodo tolerirali, kaj se dogaja z živalmi, ki so skrite očem, če bodo le vedeli za to. Zato je z dokumentiranjem (foto in video) nadaljevala. Nekaj njenih nazornih fotografij tudi tukaj

V svojem delovanju je pomagala konkretnim živali in to so srečne zgodbe, kot pravi sama. Ena njih je pujs Wilbur, na katerega je po naključju naletela na cesti le nekaj trenutkov po tem, ko se je zgodilo trčenje s tovornjakom za prevoz živali v klavnico. Medtem ko je ostale postrelila policija ali so jih zbila nasproti vozeča vozila, pa ji je uspelo Wilburja pravočasno spraviti v avto in odpeljati na varno. Kljub temu, da je vedela, da nima prostora, da namesti 300 kg žival, ga je vzela domov in mu poiskala varen in trajen dom. Kot pravi sama, jo je najbolj presenetilo, kako zelo so pujsi podobni psom in da imajo radi mehke odeje.

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Po vseh letih aktivizma je stopila na pot umetniškega izražanja. Umetnost je orodje, ki dopušča svobodo, ki je fotografija ali video posnetek ne. Twyla je prepričana, da pogled na nekoga, ki nežno pestuje pujsa kot bi kdo drug recimo psa, lahko spremeni posameznikov pogled na žival in nas spodbudi, da živali uzremo v drugi luči. 

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TWYLA FRANCOIS nas je s svojim delom prevzela. Njen aktivizem in ostalo delovanje je tako širokega spektra, da na tem mestu nimamo dovolj prostora, da povzamemo vsega. Za vse, ki želite več informacij, lahko obiščete www.twylafrancois.com ali njen FB profil, Twitter, You tube

Celoten intervju, katerega povzetki so zgoraj, pa je na voljo tudi v angleškem jeziku*EN*

 

1. Could you tell us something about your self please. On your web site we can read that you are from a small rural community. Why and how did you connect with farm animals..usually we connect with cats, dogs..why farm animals? Was there any special animal that ‘called you’, an event maybe or it just happend? How old were you?

Like most rural Canadian kids, I attended a program called 4H. 4H was created in my home province in 1913 and continues to this day. As part of the Animal Husbandry course (which is now called “Beef Club”), my friend and I lovingly raised a calf, made him as beautiful as we could and entered him in the annual fair. Only after recognizing the man bidding on our calf as the local butcher did we realize what we had done. No amount of tears allowed the calf to be returned to us. We found out later that it is in fact a stated rule of 4H that no child can have his or her animal back. After getting to know this calf and learning his fate, I just couldn’t eat meat anymore. I went vegetarian when I was 13.

2. When you started to work as a farmed animal cruelty investigator and what was the reason? Why? Later your work as a farmed animal cruelty investigator became the focus of numerous documentaries. Can you tell us also some more about it?

Although I loved animals and was vegetarian, I lived a pretty average life, and worked a regular office job until I suddenly got sick. I had to have emergency surgery, a second surgery and six months of chemotherapy. It forced me to reevaluate my life and priorities. While I was recovering, I started a small, non-profit local animal advocacy group and immediately started receiving photos from concerned citizens of pigs being abused at a local assembly yard. I returned to the facility daily for nearly two years, documenting what I saw, repeatedly reporting it to the provincial and federal authorities and local media. Although the authorities failed to act, the increased scrutiny and attention forced the facility to shut down. That first investigation was a lesson on the failure of government and the justice system to protect animals. I realized the court of public opinion was a more powerful tool for bringing about change for animals so immediately after every investigation (and sometimes during), I would contact media outlets with my footage. I knew Canadians wouldn’t tolerate what was happening to animals – they just needed to know about it. Thankfully, most media outlets agreed and gave precious air time and careful analysis to the issue. 

3. To see all the suffering of farm animals, to be in the middle of it – how can a person with such emphaty as you handle this at all? 

These animals endure so much. They are torn from their mothers almost immediately after birth – if they even see their mother. They are mutilated without painkillers and often violently beaten. They are transported in all weather extremes without any protection and killed using methods that are so cruel they are banned in other countries. My feelings are a distant second to their suffering. 

4. And you rescued some animals too, didn’t you? Can you tell us any rescued story?

These are the happy stories I try to focus on! Wilbur was a pig I discovered on the side of the highway after the trailer he was being taken to slaughter in crashed, spilling pigs onto the busy road. Some animals were hit by cars, others were shot by the police. Luckily I’d just been grocery shopping and was able to coax Wilbur into the back of my Subaru with some vegan pudding before the police got to him! Although I wasn’t set up to handle a 300 pound pig, I brought him home and called over a bunch of friends who helped me set up a space for him. I learned so much from Wilbur. I learned that pigs are extremely talkative and demonstrative, that they love blankets and affection, and I realized just how similar they are to dogs. I did a painting to commemorate Wilbur’s rescue! 

5. Do you find animal farm sanctuaries as an important part in veganism?

I think farm sanctuaries are integral to our movement. Most of us became vegetarian or vegan because we were able to recognize that farmed animals are just as worthy of our compassion and kindness as dogs and cats are. Giving others the chance to meet farmed animals and realize this themselves is the most important thing we can do to advance the rights of animals. 

6. Now we can admire your amazing art work. Why art? Simple question..why?

Thanks so much! Although painting just started as a way for me to cope with what I was seeing, I realized that it could be an effective education tool. Art allows a freedom that photo and video evidence doesn’t. It can be even more emotive and moving as much of the interpretation is up to the viewer who then feels a sense of discovery and ownership of making the connection. We know from psychological studies that this sense of responsibility is a direct catalyst for changing behaviour. And because humans are social beings and look to others to determine how to feel and react, my hope is that seeing someone lovingly providing water to a dehydrated sow or gently holding a piglet as one would a puppy changes how we view these animals. It reminds us that farmed animals are just as capable of suffering and just as deserving of our kindness.

7. What is the message that you would like to spread to the world – about farm animals?

I’d like everyone to see that farmed animals are just as capable of suffering as dogs and cats are and are just as deserving of our kindness and respect. 

Twyla Francois is animal cruelty investigator turned artist uses art to promote a more compassionate world. You can find all her work on her web http://www.twylafrancois.com/, facebook page, in films No Country For Animals, Food For Thought, Cruel Business, These Little Piggies, Betes a bord, No Country For Horses. 

 

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