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animal storytelling - The Alien Journalist Dictionary Title pic

Animal Storytelling

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An outreach technique where industries harming animals are discussed on a personal level by sharing the tale of a specific, named animal. These large-scale tragedies now have faces and names associated with them. This technique is a part of the animal rights movement’s global effort to establish animal personhood, and is promoting a more nuanced understanding of animals’ lives and character traits. Ideally, the storyteller has a personal connection to this animal and can describe his/her unique traits, hardships, preferences, and so forth.

Using the term in a sentence:

  • I like to use Animal Storytelling, the MICRO story of one individual, in order to color the MACRO, the facts, numbers and statistics of the atrocity. For example, I use Tom’s story and footage to explain someone about slaughter lines that are build narrow so animals can’t turn around from facing death. But the calf in front of Tom was in panic, managed to turn around, and climbed on Tom.
  • My friend refused to listen to me when I tell her general facts about the horrors of the meat industry, so I used Animal Storytelling and told her about Tom. She listened; didn’t say she was going to change something in her behavior or life, but at least she listened. That’s a start.

An example of Animal Storytelling: The story of Tom


Tom is calf number 4702. I followed him for seven hours with a tiny camera attached to his body. Unlike other calves, who often appear fearful with heads facing down, Tom is notably curious and self-assured; his head is always held high. He playfully swishes his tail and brushes his back, occasionally obscuring the camera. He is transported on the lower floor of a crowded two-story truck, where feces from the upper level fall onto his companions, sometimes landing on their faces.

Tom arrived in Israel from Portugal a few months ago, as identified by his eartag. He never experienced a pasture, and his entire life was spent in a crowded pen. The slaughterhouse will be his last one.

Upon being forced off the truck and into the slaughterhouse, Tom encounters a calf that had broken its horn. He touches him with his head. Via live cameras put on animals during their last day alive, we saw many animals, cows sheeps and pigs, putting heads on each other. Maybe they find some comfort in doing that. In the pens before slaughter, Tom is surrounded by the constant sound of screams, yet he remains completely silent.

A group of animals, including Tom, are forced into the slaughter line. Slaughter lines are built narrow so that animals cannot turn around. Tom attempts to walk backward twice to escape the constricted concrete path. On his third attempt, they close the gate at the entrance, making retreat impossible. Now, he constantly looks back, swallowing his saliva. He startles as a worker just passes by the slaughter line from the outside.

Moving forward, the calf in front of Tom panics, manages to turn around within the narrow path, and comes face to face with Tom. In a futile attempt to escape, the calf climbs on Tom, pressing Tom’s horn against its belly. Despite their struggle, escape is not possible. Both are slaughtered approximately 13 minutes later.

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animal storytelling - The Alien Journalist Dictionary main pic
Animal storytelling side pic of an alien interviewing a sheep
Animal storytelling side pic of an alien interviewing a sheep