Memorials and Vigils
Vigils, memorial services and die-ins are somber events that focus attention on the tragedy of animal farming and slaughter. They are a time to remember the losses suffered by each of the more than 65 billion individual animals murdered by agribusiness each year. These events can be as elaborate as funeral processions or as straightforward as candlelight vigils.
Click here for FARM's 2008 Slaughterhouse Vigil Report
Props, such as candles, black ribbons, somber music, and funeral attire can create a very dramatic effect. Activists can also conduct a fast to increase the media appeal of the event, and to bring attention to the millions of people who go hungry as grains are fed to livestock instead.
Vigils can be added on to many other events, such as protests, demos, information tables, cage-ins, and more. A funeral procession can be added to a march for animals. Vigils can be done in highly public areas for maximum visibility, or they can be don ein strategic locations, such as in front of a slaughterhouse. Regardless of the nature of the vigil or memorial service, it will be more effective if more activists take part, so effective outreach and planning are key.
Die-ins are visually powerful and symbolic forms of protest where activists lie motionless in a public area. They have traditionally been used to protest nuclear proliferation and, more recently, the war in Iraq. World Farm Animals Day die-ins take a stand for animals, whose suffering is invisible and publicly denied.
Click here for the 2006 USDA Die-In (Washington, DC) Report
Die-ins can be done in coordination with an information table and/or video screening. Speakers are encouraged as well, and speakers should have a script that includes animal death stastics. The amount of lay-down time will vary from about 5-30 minutes. During the die-in itself, there may be silence, though somber music can play, and a bell can ring perodically to signal a specific number of dead animals. Speakers may want a megaphone or bullhorn.
Consider dress code, body positioning, and hand positioning. Wearing all black is appropriate. FARM's "Stop the Slaughter" shirt is available at a discounted rate to all die-in participants. Hands and bodies can be free form, or bodies can be in patterns and hands can be sprawled or over chests. Be careful not to look like a sleep-in!
It is helpful to have a dropping and standing strategy. If necessary, determine and mark positions before the event. Will participants drop and rise together, or one at a time? Does each participant represent a number of slaughtered animals, or will the amount of lay-down time represent that?
Ensure that participants know dropping and standing cues. Email instructions ahead of time, if possible.
To plan a vigil, memorial or a die-in, register your event with FARM to receive an Event Pack, and read up on planning an event and effective media. You will need to coordinate and outreach strategically to optimize visibility, press, and volunteer turn out.
Please take photos and videos and send copies to us (high resolution .jpgs by email are best for photos) at email@example.com.
Additional Ideas for Consideration:
Special effects: Participants may want to wear fake blood, animal costumes, or animal face masks.
Location: Choose a location with symbolic meaning for animals and/or lots of visibility. Remember to consider parking and other logistics for your participants.
Civil disobedience: Blocking a side-walk or entrance will draw additional attention, but do so with caution. For more info, see our guide to civil disobedience.
- Bring signs and/or make posters.
- Bring vegan snacks to share with participants and visitors.
- Do a march or walk.
- Do your speech as a eulogy.