Scrolling down the explore page of Instagram can lead anyone to some interesting accounts. Out of all the emotions one is able to express, gratitude and heartbreak is what we here at CFB felt when scrolling through Hannah’s feed. Hannah is the face behind Sympathy at Slaughter, she is the face behind the camera, and the hero who bares witness to it all. We have been following Hannah for over a year now and we are honored to have feedback coming directly from her.
CBF: Who is Hannah Elizabeth?
Hannah Elizabeth is a dedicated photo journalist and animal rights activist with a passionate love for animals. Hannah is a 25 year old University of Toronto graduate that completed her Bachelor of Arts in 2015 with a double major in Buddhist studies and Equity studies.
CBF: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I grew up in Brockville, Ontario. I currently live in Downtown Toronto.
CBF: What sparked your love for animals?
I’ve always loved animals. I grew up with my cat Sophie who has been by my side since I was 10 years old. She is 16 now! My family also had a dog that we considered a member of our family for 13 cherished years. It wasn’t until he was killed suddenly by a car accident that I truly made the connection of the precious life of not only the animals I’ve known as pets but all animals- everywhere.
CBF: Who is Sympathy At Slaughter?
Sympathy at Slaughter is an ever-developing manifestation of Hannah’s efforts to create change for animals. Sympathy at Slaughter describes my physical effort of offering sympathy to animals bound for slaughter. I also consider “Sympathy” to be the light of my project and “Slaughter” the dark. My sympathy sheds light on a heartbreaking truth unexposed- connecting with the animals to collect and share footage that makes a difference in this world.
Hannah’s feed will overwhelm your hearts with the thousands of pictures displaying the gruesome conditions these animals are both forced to live and be transported in, all for their life to be ended so abrupt. Living in such grotesque conditions is not only inhumane, but spreads infections, leaves for open wounds, and has proven to cause massive tumors on the poor animals.
CBF: Did you for ever once think SAS would be where it is today with the help of Instagram?
Not in my wildest dreams. Sympathy at Slaughter has organically grown with the support of my followers to be where I am today.
CBF: What was SAS’s biggest accomplishment of 2016?
Sympathy at Slaughter’s biggest accomplishment of 2016 had to be exhibiting at the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles, California. Taylor and I fundraised and prepared for months- we lugged over 150 pounds of luggage onto our flight from Toronto to LA. I am so proud of all that we accomplished that weekend and our presence at the conference.
CBF: Are you vegan? (If so please explain how you became, how long, and how you feel about veganism, etc.)
Yes! I’ve been vegan for almost 3 years. I never liked meat and was a vegetarian for 7 years before making the full transition. It was in my final year studying at the University of Toronto that I was made aware of the horrors inflicted upon animals in the dairy industry- I became vegan immediately.
CBF: Favorite color?
Pink, obviously 🙂
CBF: Hannah, how do you feel when individuals claim that animals have no feelings?
Absolutely heartbroken, I know in my heart the truth is the exact opposite.
CBF: What is the hardest part about your day-to-day job of filming?
The hardest part of filming is obvious; The heartache one bears looking a suffering animals in the eye and not being able to save them is barely describable.
The second hardest part of filming has to be predicting what is going to happen each day- Truck arrivals are spontaneous and my time to connect and collect footage depends on traffic flow and red-lights. When I am outside a truck, I am lucky to have more than 30 seconds. It is unbearable to think of all the times I’ve had to say goodbye.
CBF: What is one misconception about you and SAS?
There are two major misconceptions that surround Sympathy at Slaughter. Many of my followers think that SAS is a group of people operating to collect this footage but Sympathy at Slaughter is entirely the manifestation of Hannah’s passion and dedication.
Many of my followers also associate my account with Toronto Pig Save or assume my involvement with The Save Movement.
Sympathy at Slaughter is not associated with Toronto Pig Save or The Save Movement- I wish people would stop saying that.
CBF: How was your experience at the Animal Rights National Conference?
What an amazing weekend! Exhibiting Sympathy at Slaughter at the Animal Rights National Conference had to be the highlight of our year! It was so inspiring to be around so many motivating individuals all working towards the same goal. We shared some of the most meaningful conversations I will ever have at our booth that weekend. Some of the connections we made will last a lifetime! We are thrilled to be planning to exhibit at the Animal Rights National Conference this August 2017 in Washington, DC.
CBF: Do you plan to shoot footage of other animals outside of cows, chickens, and pigs?
I do not limit my photography or footage to any animal in particular. The footage I am able to collect all depends on the opportunities that arise. I have captured footage of lambs waiting outside a Toronto slaughterhouse on a few occasions. I would also love the opportunity to capture images of rabbits, ducks, horses, and turkeys to help raise awareness of their suffering bound for slaughter.
CBF: How can our readers help SAS? (please list any donation links + any helpful information)
Donations are vital to keep Sympathy at Slaughter alive! Your support makes it possible for me to continue creating and sharing content that makes a difference in this world.
Pledge to donate monthly:
Contribute one time:
For more information:
CBF: As you are up close and personal to the animals, what do you see that most can not even imagine?
I wouldn’t say it’s what I see so much as what I experience; being at a slaughterhouse with the animals moments before the kill-floor is truly an indescribable experience. There are also those moments I haven’t been able to capture on camera that will haunt me forever. It breaks my heart to think of the animals I’ve connected with but haven’t been able to share their story.
CBF: Do you ever have a day off from your hard work? If so, what do you do on your spare time?
Honestly, I never take a day off. In my sparse spare time throughout the day I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and 16 year old cat Sophie. I practice yoga and enjoy making vegan home cooked meals each night. I try to maintain a balance of what I’m working on for Sympathy at Slaughter and am really enjoying developing our online store The Sympathy Shop!
CBF: How do you deal with the negative comments under your pictures/videos?
I don’t pay attention to most of them. I read every comment but as soon as I see negative connotation I skip it or if I see the user persist they are blocked- the animals don’t deserve such hateful words. Cyber bullying and online harassment has a huge affect on my mental state of being- It’s healthier for me not to feed into it.
CBF: Is there other activists or public figures who inspire you to do what you do? Do you have a favourite who shares any of the same interests as you?
Jo-Anne McArthur has to be my biggest inspiration. I admire her dedication and outstanding photography. In the same way that her photos portray animals in captive and dire situations- eyes pleading for help- I hope my photos will help awaken viewers to the painful reality animals experience bound for slaughter.
CBF: Do you have hope that society as a whole will one day will understand the horrid tragedies animals go through?
Yes I have hope- The truth cannot be long hidden.
We here at CFB would like to commend Hanna for her efforts on spreading truth to the world, and love to these animals. Hannah you are truly inspiring and we can only wish SAS the best in life. The animals love and appreciate you, Hannah!