Abattoir allows vegan activists to whisper 'I love you' and 'We're sorry' to cows during 'last rites' ceremonies for cattle being bought to slaughter

Vegan activists have begun performing 'last rites' ceremonies for incoming cows at an abattoir run by a major meat processing company.
Leicestershire Animal Save are hosting monthly roadside vigils in Melton Mowbray in which they tell the cattle 'we love you, we are sorry', before the animals are taken away for slaughter at the plant run by the Foyle Food Group.
The activists have held 35 ceremonies since founding the group in 2015, and continue to protest the slaughter by holding signs which say 'your taste=their death'.

Group founder Dina Aherne said her group has an understanding with abattoir bosses who allow them to comfort the animals, held inside trailers, for two minutes before they are transported to the slaughterhouse. 
Ms Aherne, a 28-year-old former solicitor from Leicester, said: 'We want to make the cows feel at ease every time because they are living and sacred beings.
'Cows have a living soul and conscience. We really want to help comfort them. We have to arrange and give two weeks notice for when we are going to be on site.
'When we arrive usually at about 8am, we gather outside the slaughterhouse on days when the abattoir is operational for about three hours.
'We then stop each of the trucks and are given two minutes to say the last goodbye's before they go and get a bolt gun put through their head.
'We whisper phrases to them like "we're sorry", "we see you" and "I love you"'.
Ms Aherne said she believes peaceful protests are the best way to spread a positive message about veganism and animal welfare.  
She added: 'Any social movements have different kinds of action and a lot of vegan groups resort to violence.
'But we condone this and the best way is to peacefully spread the message.
'I am following my heart and these cows deserve compassion and respect just like any other human being.'
Dr Toni Shepard, director of animal welfare campaign group Animal Equality UK, said: 'The movement have done a lot to draw public attention and are very good that telling people that animals are dying for meat.
'It can be certainly stressful for the individuals for the people doing it but for the animals themselves, it depends on how it has done as any loud noises could frighten the animals.'
Foyle Food Group has nine sites across the UK where they slaughter and debone more than 7,500 cattle each week across its processing plants.
Another group of vegans held a candlelit vigil outside a farm to mourn nine turkeys which had been slaughtered for Christmas dinner in Bristol.
The group stood in silence at the gates of St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol and offered vegan mince pies to passers-by next to a sign which read: 'They wanted to live'. 
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