The festive consumer extravaganza is in full swing here in Scotland. Wandering aimlessly in a supermarket, I see a myriad seasonal items depicting animals; curly-coated lambs, fluffy bunnies, pink piglets, yellow chicks and doe-eyed, long-legged deer delightfully adorning pyjamas, duvet covers and all sorts of consumer tat.
Meanwhile, only a couple of aisles away in the chilly miasma of the mortuary aisles are the dismembered and bloody remains of these very same sweet young creatures, the whimpers of loss, terror and agony that reflect what our species REALLY does, all conveniently swept under the rug of our collective delusions. Meanwhile, we cling to a distorted perception of ourselves as ‘animal lovers’.
A few shelves along, adorned in glossy wrappers and tinsel we find displays of dairy chocolate confections for which despairing and defeated mothers and their panic stricken newborns were torn apart for ever. We are never taught about this as children, are we? We are taught self-serving fantasies about cows being milk machines. We are told that we’re doing them ‘a favour’ by hooking them up to pumping machinery every day. Hens, we are told, exist only as animated dispensers to provide humans with eggs. Some of us, myself included, even reach adulthood without questioning such nonsense, and once habit and custom addicts us to cross-species-breastfeeding, and using other individuals as if their lives were ours, our common sense seems to switch itself off.
In other aisles we find ‘wool‘ and ‘cashmere’, ‘sheepskin’ and ‘leather‘ gifts for our loved ones with luxury labels. We are raised to be ignorant of the slaughterhouse-tainted origins of every flayed skin, of shaved fibres, plucked feathers and fur trims. When we are told of hide pullers and agony, it’s so hard to believe that many reject it outright.
Yet it was those same slaughterhouses that vomited out the body parts and substances for our glistening festive tables, those slaughterhouses that await the ‘dairy’ mothers and their infants, the egg-laying hens, the wool and cashmere-producing sheep and goats once their life sentences in hell are over; those slaughterhouses that will be the only escape for every individual whose broken body and destroyed life we insist upon to put in our trolleys.
And meanwhile, to the sound of jingling bells, carols and Christmas songs, we buy torment wrapped in tinsel, and the sobbing, agonised whimpers of innocent infants in clingwrap.
We call it a celebration of ‘peace on earth’.
We need to think again. We really do. We need to be vegan or stop fooling ourselves.