Christmas and the New Year are barely behind us, and already, the first Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies are appearing in the stores. Easter is becoming a popular (and often expensive) holiday, thanks to the numerous themed chocolates and candies that drive children wild with excitement. But in the midst of the chocolate frenzy, we often lose sight of the suffering of the animals who have become associated with the celebration.
Easter welcomes in spring and represents rebirth and fresh starts. Yet for billions of animals around the world every year, there will be no spring, and they will never have a chance at living a happy life.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about Easter is the association with eggs and chicks, which has become so well known around the world. Chocolate Easter eggs are often sold accompanied by cute little yellow chick toys. Yet the egg industry is responsible for the slaughter of millions of day-old baby male chicks every year.
Male chicks are useless to farmers, as they can’t produce eggs, and so they are either killed by gassing or thrown alive into giant mincing machines for disposal. This is the true link between chicks and eggs. Not such a pretty picture, is it?
And as for the actual egg, which many Easter treats contain, it probably came from a hen who spent her short, miserable life inside a battery cage. Crammed into a space equivalent to a sheet of A4 paper, with wire flooring, no perch, and no room even to stretch her wings, she was most likely used until her broken body couldn’t produce any more eggs. Then she was sent to slaughter. During her life, she may have had her sensitive beak cut off by a hot blade, experienced feather loss and sores from the wire caging, and even had broken bones that were left untreated.
And what of the happy-looking little Easter bunny figures—surely real bunnies are as well loved as the tasty chocolate versions? Sadly, in countries such as China, rabbits used for their fur are kept in filthy, cramped cages before being dragged out to have their necks snapped and throats slit. But these cheap killing methods are often unsuccessful and can leave animals still conscious as they are skinned. Pelts are often mislabeled and can end up in countries around the world, where many people who buy them don’t even realize that they are supporting cruelty to animals.
Some people even buy live chicks and bunnies as Easter presents for children, without considering the lifetime of care and love that these animals need. When the animals grow larger, they will often be discarded or suffer a lifetime of neglect. Every companion animal is a responsibility and should never be bought as a novelty.
Perhaps this Easter, rather than buying a chocolate egg or a bunny figurine, we could all take a little time to consider the animals who suffer at our hands—because being compassionate and living a cruelty-free life will still be satisfying long after you would have finished eating that chocolate Easter egg.
Posted by Claire Fryer