Decoration or Torture?
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Lisa Adair, AnimalsVoice.com
March 2019

I never expected that my deciding not to eat mammals would cause me to become more aware of the animals themselves. I realized that a year ago, I never would have thought twice about this hotelís decorations. It would have been just another business here using the reputation of Texas to attract and entertain its guests. Animals should not be used solely for the purpose to entertain or feed humans. And instruments of torture should never be used as decorations.

branding irons

Recently, I had cause to be at a local hotel for a company meeting. I arrived early and not wanting to go and sit in a stale conference room, I chose to sit in the lobby and go through my emails. I found a nice spot, right off the bar area, sat and pulled out my phone. After a few minutes, I looked around. It was a very nice hotel in an upscale part of a suburb in the Dallas, Texas area. Something in the mirror over the bar caught my eye, and I looked up. There, hanging over my head, were dozens of branding irons. Each iron bore a different brand. I assumed they were the brands of the different ranches found in Texas. I just sat there, looking at them, at first not really thinking about them, until it dawned on me that these were instruments of torture.

Iím from Texas, and Iíve been in countless hotels and restaurants that have Texas themes. These mostly consist of the Cowboy, so it wasnít unusual for me to be somewhere that played on that theme. Texas has the reputation of being cowboy country and over the years, Iíve become immune to seeing similar displays. But Iíve never seen the actual instrument used as decoration. As I sat there, looking at them, I couldnít help but think of the animals they were used on. Innocent cows and calves, having this brand of ownership and slaughter, burned into their hide, their skin. And as I looked further around the bar, I saw that the barstools were covered in cowhide, and most of the chairs in the bar area were leather.

This was a new awareness for me. About nine months ago, I gave up eating mammals. I did it for ethical reasons, as well as health reasons, at least thatís what I tell my friends and family when they ask. But itís really because of the animals themselves. I just was not willing to use cows or pigs as food anymore. They are beautiful creatures, capable of so much feeling, and I didnít want to be a part of that industry anymore. Iím not a vegetarian Ė I havenít made the jump from fish or fowl yet, but I canít say that Iím not on the path. I just know that now, for me, eating mammals is wrong.

Why would someone think to use these instruments of torture as decoration? I think itís because it is so ingrained in us to think of cows as food that we donít think of them as feeling creatures. Branding is a part of the ranching tradition and I have seen brand designs used on walls in many Texas steak houses. But never before have I seen the actual iron. I have been told, by someone who raised cattle for a while, that the branding does not hurt the cow because their hides are so thick. And because I didnít want to think of the pain that would cause, I chose to believe him, or at least, not think about it. But thatís a lie. Of course they would feel an iron-hot piece of lead burning into their skin, just like I would feel it.

I never expected that my deciding not to eat mammals would cause me to become more aware of the animals themselves. I realized that a year ago, I never would have thought twice about this hotelís decorations. It would have been just another business here using the reputation of Texas to attract and entertain its guests. Animals should not be used solely for the purpose to entertain or feed humans. And instruments of torture should never be used as decorations.


Lisa Adair is a contributing writer for The Animals Voice Magazine.


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