Did you know Australia kills 500 million chickens per year for meat? Or that, according to the RSPCA, the only reason male chicks are slaughtered as they cannot lay eggs and they are not suitable for chicken-meat production?
Yet their portrayal in the media is highly constructed and almost humanised to the point that when watching a movie, such as Chicken Run or Finding Nemo, everyone will be rooting for the animals but in real life they do not make the connection to where animal products come from. Animal activists PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) encourage consumers to look past the façade that the meat industry is humane and sustainable and illustrate how animals are really being treated.
How would you define free range? Lilydale defines ‘free range’ as having comfortable barn space with access to outdoor range areas, with access to nutritious feed. Alternatively, PETA argues that “while buying free range eggs from local farmers who don’t cram hens into small, filthy cages is kinder than buying eggs that were produced on factory farms, it’s not a truly viable – or humane – solution.”
If there was no organisations like PETA within the media sphere how would we really know what goes on behind closed factory doors. Relying on movies, the words of chicken farmers and organisations such as Sea World is undependable, as they paint a picture of what you want to see rather than what really goes on.
In North Portland, Oregon a chicken caused a traffic jam because it was trying to cross the road. Cars were stopped for the sake of the chickens and even local authorities were called. While this story might be cute, it is particularly interesting when you study the behaviour of our society.
When people are driving down the road and a duck, chicken or a family of geese are trying to cross the road they are usually inclined to stop, wait and admire the cuteness of the fluffy creature. But then they drive three blocks down the road to the nearest McDonald’s and order some chicken nuggets. We desire to see the chicken make it safely to the other side of the road yet we participate in the confinement and slaughter of millions of chickens every year and say/do nothing when they are violated and pieces of their body are dismembered, fried and then put on menus with adjectives such as juicy, succulent and crispy.
So, if we wouldn’t want to keep driving and run over the chicken, when we don’t have to, how come we give our money and support to this industry, when we don’t have to? Our natural instinct is to love and protect them, yet we contribute to the abuse, violence and dismemberment they endure. We often spare ourselves the sight of how these beings go from the farm to our plate.
My younger sister is a vegan and has been for 1 year, being vegetarian 1 year before that. I asked for her opinion on what made her go vegan. Her thoughts are below.
“In my childhood I never made the connection between the pets that I played with and the animals that would lay still and disfigured on my plate. My naive mindset allowed me to believe they had no correspondence with each other and that pain, torture or cruelty could not be a byproduct of the food that my parents would serve me. After watching a few videos that came up on my Facebook newsfeed, I was curious about the topic and decided to watch a documentary called ‘Earthlings’. It opened up a new perspective and exposed the horrendous meat, egg and dairy industries that I would contribute to and the manipulation that companies put on society just to keep cash flowing. Growing up with the perception that vegans were weird, hippie people, I never thought I would be one in a thousand years.”