We proudly wear the title of being a nation of animal lovers. Each year we spend 6 billion pounds on or cats, dogs, bunnies, budgies and guinea pigs. The love we feel for our companion animals is so strong, they become full members of our families and are treated accordingly.
So imagine a scenario. Your cat or dog is taken from you, loaded on to a truck with lots of other people’s pets and taken to a slaughterhouse. You are told that your pet is needed for human consumption, that it’s always been this way, that it’s just an animal.
You are assured that your pet’s death will be humane. It’s explained to you that your pet will line up with all of the others and they will enter the kill room one by one. There it will be stunned, hung upside down and his or her throat will be cut and its blood will be drained. It will be quick and painless, they won’t be aware of what’s happening, it’s just an animal.
There is nothing you can do to stop this.
In desperation you follow the truck to the slaughterhouse. When you get there you see people trying to stop the truck, holding up signs in protest and standing in front of it. You see people looking in the side of the truck, talking to and trying to comfort the animals.
But the truck driver refuses to stop. The police and security guards are pushing the protestors out of the way; many are in tears, begging them not to do this. These are not even their own pets.
The truck pulls into the slaughterhouse and you never see your little friend again.
So you decide this has to stop, you talk to your friends, your family, your neighbours, in fact anyone who will listen but you find almost none are prepared to do so. They tell you that everyone has the right to eat meat if they choose to and you have no right to suggest otherwise. They suggest that you’ve been brainwashed, that you sound like an extremist, a tree hugger, a hippie.
You post on Facebook, on Twitter but get the same response.
Every single day in the UK 2-3 million cows, pigs, sheep and chickens are slaughtered. You don’t know them, but they are every little bit as conscious and as capable of giving and receiving love and affection as your pet. They have every bit as much right to life as your pet.
We do not need to eat animals to live, to survive and thrive.
We call ourselves a civilised society, in the way we treat the animals that should be under our care we are anything but.
They are not just animals, we are all just animals.