As published in The Advertiser
December 26, 2013
’Tis the season of peace for animals
Ironically these animals are killed to celebrate the birth of the “Prince of Peace”
THAT joyful time of “peace and goodwill” is upon us. But is it really such a time for all creatures great and small?
The reality is that for millions of our fellow sentient beings festive season is the cruelest and most violent time of the year. Why? Because it is when more of them are slaughtered than at any other time.
Ironically these animals are killed to celebrate the birth of the “Prince of Peace”. Does this make the slightest sense?
If asked whether we’d prefer a peaceful world or a violent world, I’ve no doubt the majority of us would answer “peaceful”. The strange thing is that when most of us eat, we choose violence over peace. As one who was brought up on animal products I understand how this comes about.
In children’s picture books we read that cows “give” us milk and hens “give” us eggs and pigs “give” us meat. As we grow older we are persuaded by the animal industries into believing that we “need” animal products for good health.
We grow up viewing meat, eggs and milk as “normal” human foods. My mother told me that the farmer was doing the cow a favour by relieving her of her surplus milk and I believed her. I’m sure my mother believed this, too.
Much later I discovered the cruel truth – that each year in Australia 700,000 newborn calves are mercilessly trucked to the slaughterhouse in their first week of life just so their milk can be sold to humans who have no need of it.
I learned that humans are the only mammal to consume the breast milk of a
totally different species and to consume it right throughout adulthood.
Around the same time I discovered that, not only was animal flesh totally unnecessary in our diet, it was far healthier to avoid it. And eggs? Well they were simply the ovum in which a baby bird develops. Not human food at all.
The thing that made me stop eating these products, however, was discovering
how much suffering was inflicted on the pitiful animals reared for their
flesh, milk and eggs. Besides the suffering inflicted on them during their
lives, all were subjected to a premature and terrifying death.
Farmed animals are not mindless blobs. Given that we now have a vast array of wholesome, delicious non-animal food at our fingertips, how can we possibly justify inflicting so much suffering on them for nothing but taste?
In 1971 John Lennon wrote a Christmas song that was the culmination of more than two years’ of peace activism. A recurring line in the song was “War is over, if we want it”.
If we truly do want peace, isn’t it time we ended our war on animals – and what better time to start than this season of “peace and goodwill”.
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