Christians celebrate Easter as a time of rebirth and resurrection – a time to celebrate the love, grace, and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ. But what most forget is to show love, mercy, and grace to those around us – specifically the animals we share this world with.
Easter is not unlike many of the other major celebrations that revolve around animal cruelty. The sheer volume of slaughter of certain animals goes up at certain times. Heck, the Super Bowl itself encourages the slaughter of over 700 million chickens (that’s right… for 1 day, over 700 million chickens die). For Easter – lambs, chickens, ducks, and rabbits take the blow in the name of tradition.
This post could take a very dark turn very quickly when you think of the number of animals exploited and murdered for a holiday meant to celebrate resurrection and salvation …. but I don’t want to go there (even though I kinda just did). Let’s take a different direction … what can you do to have a cruelty-free Easter? I drew out a few pointers below on where to start and if you have anything to add – please comment!
Number 1: Don’t buy Easter bunnies, chicks, ducks, lambs … anything with a heartbeat.
How tempting is it to bring a little life into your home. Oh the excitement and squeals of delight your children will have waking up to a little chick or duckling or a baby bunny. Unfortunately, the majority of the baby animals purchased as Easter surprises end up dead or abandoned.
It’s just a sad reality. And unfortunately, because people run out and buy the babies, it only tells the industry to do it again next year. In our economic space – we vote with our dollar and when you buy these babies, you are telling them to do it again.
So you want to buy one AND you are fully prepared for the responsibility that comes with these animals? Ok. That’s great. But let’s take a reality break: do you really think everyone who buys these babies is truly ready for them? The heat lamps for ducklings and chicks, appropriate shelter and fencing for any of them? The idea that you are going to have this animal in your life for several years? I don’t think so … and the numbers prove it. As an owner of a sanctuary, I am a little fearful of what type of offers we will be getting the few weeks following Easter and even more fearful of the idea that we have to turn them down due to lack of shelter/facilities for these types of animals. As a sanctuary – we are not ready. The average American household is even less so.
Instead of buying these babies for yourself and realizing you weren’t ready for the commitment, find a nearby sanctuary and take a visit with your family. I know the critters here would love visitors AND you can get all the love and excitement without having to take it home.
Number 2: Find alternatives to dying/hiding real Easter eggs.
When a person goes vegetarian, they do not consider the gross neglect, exploitation, and abuse the milk and egg industry push onto the animals. In the US alone, during the Easter season, over 180 million eggs will be purchased. Not only are eggs unhealthy due to being a prime source of cholesterol, the chickens being forced to lay those eggs are highly exploited (and it doesn’t matter if the package says free-range, organic, or otherwise… its all cruel to them). In many cases, the chickens are genetically modified to grow big fast and to lay more eggs than their bodies were ever expected to.
Again, a consumer market is one that votes with the dollar. So take your vote and make it cruelty-free. What can you make that is good for the environment and what can you use that isn’t an animal by-product?
Our event this year is painted rocks. We hope people will really enjoy finding them and maybe even keep a few as little decorative pieces. BUT even if they don’t, the paint will eventually wash away and all the world is left with is a rock.
Paper mache eggs? Yarn eggs? Cement eggs? Hide actual toys … money … tokens that can be traded in? If you really sit and think about it, there are so many options out there that do not need to involve another animal.
In truth, even if you buy plastic eggs – if you reuse them every year that is a step up from using actual eggs.
So brainstorm a bit … what can you use that isn’t an actual egg?
Number 3: Buy candy that is cruelty-free
This is a tough one because most people associate the big chocolate bunny to a true Easter basket. BUT there are so many options out there including chocolate bunnies made for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Even Aldi came out with a vegan cadbury type egg.
If you want to take it one step further, why not take candy out of the equation (or at least make it so its not the focus of the morning basket). An Easter basket can be a tshirt and toy – it doesn’t HAVE to focus on sweets.
NOTE: I think I made some dentists very happy just now. HA!
Number 4: Celebrate your meal by choosing ingredients that didn’t have a mother.
This is a big one and probably the most challenging to the average household. The question becomes: Fine, if you don’t want me to eat an Easter lamb, then what am I supposed to eat?
I’m probably not the one to ask. I don’t care. Easter chili works for me *laughing* I can’t tell you what is good for you and your family. For us, we like a slightly more formal meal although not “Thanksgiving Formal.” As meat eaters, while it was a nice meal it didn’t have to be lamb or roast beef. Now, as plant-based eaters, its just a really good meal and may be somewhat unconventional like tacos *chuckles*
In all seriousness – now is the time to start planning. One of the more popular, formal replacements are items like mushroom wellington. They look fancy but are super easy to make. Quorn makes a meat-alternative roast that my mother and step dad rave about (I haven’t tried it yet BUT mom did bring me one over the weekend to try … its in the freezer waiting for just the right moment).
BUT just like the basket full of candy, take an opportunity to change your traditions as it relates to the holiday meal.
Number 5: Make a new tradition rooted in kindness like volunteering as a family or making a trip to a local food bank to donate.
I’ve already mentioned changing traditions a couple of times now … and I think one way to help children understand gratitude, compassion, love, and mercy is to have them volunteer. If a person never understands there are others out there that are in need, they will never learn that they should be grateful.
Jesus lived and taught about love and mercy. A heart of service is one of love – try volunteering or donating to a food bank. As a person, I know that I always feel better knowing I am helping others (yup, I help humans too hahaha) … but as a parent, I always felt that I was teaching my children the right lessons when it came to volunteering or donating items to others in need.
Regardless, I know this is a high level blog post BUT I am hoping it helps promote some thinking outside the box – how can YOU change your Easter to be cruelty-free?
God bless to each of you and hope you have a wonderful holiday.