“Fear is fear. Blood is blood. Suffering is suffering.” These are the words that hung in the background as three activists in Tel Aviv had their bodies branded with the number 269. The demonstration happened on World Farm Animals Day and was put on by a group that runs the website 269life.com. The site is a simple and poignant reminder of the animal suffering that takes place around the world, with a picture of a lone calf from a dairy farm telling a story without words—a calf with an identification number pierced through her ear reading “269.”
During the stirring demonstration, three activists were caged in barbed wire, pushed and handled like animals, chained, and finally branded with a hot steel brand in the same way that farmed animals are every day. Their flesh was permanently seared as a reminder of not only the calf who was arbitrarily assigned the number 269 but also the life, torture, and death of the billions of animals who go unnamed and unseen.
Every day, millions of animals die at the hands of humans. These animals will never get the opportunity to raise their families, roam the wild, or live out their natural lives. Most will never even see the sun or feel the ground beneath their feet. All animals deserve the right to live their lives for their own purposes. Animals are not ours to use for any reason.
The “269” demo in Israel garnered media attention for its shocking and emotionally moving display, reminding us all that there is no difference between humans and animals when it comes to facing atrocities. The message is chillingly accurate—there is nothing that makes fear and suffering unique—and it has inspired a movement of tattoos reading “269” around the globe. Tens of thousands have watched the demonstration on YouTube.com, and it has triggered an outpouring of support and solidarity. The silent branding that these activists endured is a fraction of what animals endure and is a compelling remembrance of animals all around the world who suffer and die at the hands of humans.
Posted by Edwina Baier