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Easter traditions rooted in violence

Like a lamb to slaughter: Easter traditions rooted in violence

Lamb is an ingrained symbol of Easter and may show up on many tables this long weekend. Easter lamb is a tradition rooted in history, connected to the book of Genesis when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. He bound his son to a rock but was stopped at the last minute by a messenger of God who supplies a lamb instead.

The religious idea here is that the only means of salvation is through sacrificial bloodshed. And, I suppose, that God is merciful. In my view it seems a cruel stunt to pull on someone. It would not be the act of a ‘loving God’, however we may conceive that.

Religious meanderings aside, the idea of the sacrificial lamb has stuck and many of us will serve it for Easter this weekend. Don’t count me in though – I don’t consume flesh or any animal products because killing animals hurts them. And I don’t agree with hurting animals, including lambs.

Over 50 billion farmed animals are slaughtered globally every year. We breathe in and on the outward breath another animal is loses its life. We live, and they die because we want to consume their flesh.

It’s comforting to believe in the myth of ‘humane slaughter’ and trust in the rules and regulations governing this. Yet the release of activist footage in recent years has demonstrated some of the disdainful and brutal violence done to live sentient animals.

In the UK recently an abattoir was shut down following the release of shocking footage taken undercover. This was later uploaded on Youtube and showed the torture of animals in their final moments. Some animals were awake after their stunning and were fully conscious during their slaughter. A sheep was killed while its baby lamb suckled. This lamb then had his throat slit (see accompanying image).

In New Zealand a 2015 investigation by activist group Farmwatch over the treatment of bobby calves at an abattoir was nothing short of horrifying. The images of new born calves being hurled onto concrete floors, bashed on the head and kicked by desensitised workers is something that will never leave me.

It shows just how low we have sunk as a species to allow this kind of thing to happen. I know it is usually hidden from sight, but now we actually have some insight into what is happening behind the scenes.

It's time we collectively woke up and spoke out. The regulations put in place to 'humanely dispatch' animals are just a joke. You can never kill anything 'humanely'. Even if best practice is followed, there will still be pain, stress,and fear.

Let's name this brutality for what it is and stop hiding behind false words that obscure the violence. Meat production involves the taking of a life for a market that is hungry for meat and its products. And it’s happening day after day, hour upon hour, every second and breath.

You simply cannot trust that the meat you are consuming lived and died in a happy and peaceful way.

So please think twice before serving the sacrificial lamb this Easter. If there is a ‘loving God’ I would hope He (or She) has evolved to see that no person should kill to attain salvation.

Choose peace this Easter and keep animals off your plate.


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