Tuesday, March 25

Out of the mouths of babes...

A couple of days ago I was privy to this interesting exchange between some 5 year olds at the school I work at.

Their class had recently hatched some chicks as part of the Living Eggs program (which is extremely cruel, unethical, and not endorsed by the RSPCA! See the following links for more information: Oppose Living Eggs Facebook groupEdgar's MissionPETA Australia).

First, some background information: My experience in early childhood education has taught me that a favourite game between children of this age is the "Who likes...?" survey. Children ask "Who likes (topic or item)?" and they all put their hands up if they like it, and so on. Usually the topic is food and as you can imagine there is a lot of silliness involved and it invariably ends up at "Who likes to eat poo?" This was the game being played in this scenario.

4 children (2 girls and 2 boys) were sitting around a table doing a pasting activity. While working, they were playing the "Who likes to eat...?" game. After a few quick-fire rounds, one boy asked "Who likes to eat chicken?" All of the children put their hands up and giggled. "Who likes to eat baby chicks?" he asked. More giggles and a resounding "Ewww!" from everyone at the table, including the questioner. Next, "Who likes to eat big grown-up chickens?" the boy asked with a smile. The other children's faces were about to break into more laughter but then they faltered, the boy's smile slipped, they all avoided each others eye contact, and their body language indicated awkwardness. "Well... I do sometimes" said one girl, her voice sad. They all silently went back to work before one of them brought up a new subject of conversation.

I found this exchange really sad. Children know in their hearts that eating animals is wrong, there are so many examples of this and it is clear to see everyday if you look, in little exchanges such as these. Yet they are taught by others in society that they should blind their hearts to animals' suffering and the blatant wrongness of ending another's life so that you can indulge in its flesh.

There is so much more that I could say about this issue and so much more that I could pull out from this brief moment in time in the lives of these 4 young children. Instead, I'm going to say nothing. I'm going to leave this moment in time as it is, for you all to see, and ponder in your own minds.

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