We claim to love animals, but how can we love those who we hurt?
I’ve been watching a lot of TV and I keep seeing this awful Burger King commercial about “chicken fries.” The commercial would already have disgusted me, but it’s made all the more worse because I am currently pet-sitting two chickens, Penelope and Fiona, who were saved from slaughter. Both Penelope and Fiona were supposed to be sacrificed in the Kaporos ritual here in Brooklyn. Penelope was saved last year, and Fiona was saved within the past week. Fiona is just a baby.
When I see commercials like the Burger King one, I am stunned by how comfortable we are with joking about hurting and killing animals. It’s especially heinous in a commercial like that where the chickens are depicted as being complicit. The reality is that no chicken or any other animal would be complicit in their own exploitation. I look at Penelope and Fiona and my heart breaks knowing that they witnessed their friends (and maybe even family) suffering. Penelope and Fiona were, in a way, lucky to not have spent their short lives suffering in confinement on a factory farm. But they were also confined in crates on the street, where many chickens – probably thousands – starved to death or died from disease. They lived with their dying friends and had to have heard or maybe even seen others be ruthlessly slaughtered. In the Kaporos ritual, chickens are swung by their wings before having their throats slit. It’s not a pretty way to go. It’s terrifying and painful. Thankfully, Penelope and Fiona were spared.
So no matter what the commercials try to tell you, animal exploitation is not cute. It’s not cute, it’s not funny and it’s not kind. Animal agriculture advertisements are propaganda, plain and simple.
Despite all the sorrow in the world and all the atrocities being committed against animals, being around awesome animals like Penelope and Fiona gives me hope. I know that as a species humans can do better, and we will. We must. If you are interested in going vegan, don’t hesitate! You can begin right now with online resources and local communities. And the vegan movement also needs activists. Get involved. If you need help with anything, drop me a message.