When I was young, Easter was all about Easter Egg Hunts, and Easter Baskets, and dressing up for church. But now, it is about all of the animals that will be slaughtered for someone’s ham or lamb dinner. Don’t get me wrong – before I became vegetarian I fixed Leg of Lamb plenty of times – it was my Grandfather’s favorite! And Turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas which was my Mom’s favorite. I still remember the Thanksgiving that I cooked the entire meal and then did not eat it because my friend made comments about the turkey being slaughtered. I’m surprised I didn’t become vegetarian then. I guess I was still suppressing the truth.
But when I couldn’t or wouldn’t suppress the truth any more, I made the change. And I’m trying to take it to the next step and eliminate eggs because of the horrific treatment they receive – killed in heartbreaking fashion as chicks because they don’t lay eggs and aren’t fit for meat. Apparently the males that are part of breeding programs that result in the hens laying more eggs aren’t suitable for meat. Not that that life would have been better, less terrifying, or less painful.
The thing a lot of people don’t realize is that unless you are like my Vet who doesn’t eat meat because she doesn’t like it, for people who make the choice to change based upon ethics who DO enjoy meat, every day can be difficult. We are bombarded with ads specifically styled to be as tempting as possible. And going to restaurants is a challenge. Most places still charge you the full amount for meals even though you ask them to leave off the meat, which is bullshit. And the jokes from co-workers can become painful and make work uncomfortable. The point is – it can be a difficult choice to live with. But it is a choice I make because I can’t accept the alternative. And it isn’t because someone is watching. I could slip from time to time and no one would know or care.
But I would know and I would care.
People who grew up vegetarian have it much easier. They don’t know the difference between the texture of Jackfruit barbecue and pulled pork barbecue because they have never had pork. But I do.
So on this Easter, as you sit down to eat your leg of lamb or ham or steak, take a moment to think about the animal that probably experienced a short and terrifying life before dying in a brutal manner for you to enjoy that meal.
It’s like that old joke about Eggs & Bacon for breakfast. The chicken was involved but the pig was committed.
It isn’t an easy choice to go Cruelty Free in your life. It changes how you look at everything once your eyes are opened. But I can look in the mirror and know that other sentient, living beings are not being tortured and killed so my life is easier or tastier. And that is an Easter Gift.