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Lessons from Childhood

It’s wrong to discriminate, but you can love one animal and abuse another…

Like most kids, I was raised to be kind to others and taught that stealing and killing were immoral. These core values were instilled throughout my schooling, and I was able to explore them through the stories I was told and the TV shows and movies I watched.

Throughout my childhood we had lots of ‘pets’, from fish, birds, hamsters, ferrets, dogs and cats. I was taught to be kind and respect these animals – that their lives had value, and that they were part of the family. And yet I was also subconsciously led to believe that these moral values applied to some species and not others.

I would never go into the butchers when I was a child (always opting to stand outside with my back to the window), so I’d kinda become used to seeing meat in neat little packages. But in my early teens, when my Dad brought home his first ‘kill’ – a rabbit, complete with fur, head and legs – I remember feeling sad and guilty. When I told my grandmother about it she recalled how, as a child, she had begged her father not to kill one of their chickens. Her father had cut the chicken’s head off anyway, and it had run around the yard before finally dying and being plucked and cooked for dinner, and, in spite of her crying throughout the entire meal, she had been made to eat it.

And so, like generations before me, I was raised to believe that it was something we all had to learn to live with: that you were weak for having compassion for the animals that our society views as a source of food or clothing, that it was necessary to use certain animals, and eat animal products. I grew to accept that it was how the world worked, part of the circle of life.

And with the help of clever marketing techniques, on behalf of the animal agricultural industries, I was tricked into believing a fairy tale featuring ‘happy’ cows and hens on products in the supermarket or on adverts on the TV. But the reality of how these animals were abused was concealed from me, and because I hadn’t witnessed the terror in their eyes and their struggle to stay alive I was able to live in ignorance that it simply didn’t exist.

It wasn’t until I discovered the truth about their pain and suffering that I began to question if it really was necessary to consume animal products – and now I know from my own experience that it is not. We are taught from a young age that it is immoral to kill, steal and be cruel to others, and yet every day we kill millions of animals, steal the milk meant for their babies, and abuse them, just because we can.

Below I share some of my favourite videos of children making the connection between what our society views as ‘food’, and the sentient, living being that once was. I believe we are all inherently born with the knowledge of what is right and wrong. It’s now up to us to rediscover it.

 

“When we eat animals they die. Why? I don’t like that they die.”

 

“I won’t eat animals!”

 

“You shouldn’t cut her.”

 

“Fish, move please.”

 

“Would you like if someone ate you? Then why should I eat this poor, harmless animal?”

 

“Goats are in pain there!”

 

“But pigs are nice, and chickens are nice, and cows are nice.”

 

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