I recently watched a few episodes of a Dutch television program called The Hokjesman, translating to the Boxes Man. Different groups of Dutch people are mildly ironically scrutinized in the program, and it always turns out that the box is much more colourful than you’d expect. In the episode about ‘Animal Friends’ the Hokjesman visited a pet fair, where people celebrate their love of animals while enjoying a hamburger. A woman was selling a cocoon that can be used to bury a small pet: “A worthy farewell”.
Something that the chickens (and ducks in the UK) who are slaughtered en masse because of bird flu can only dream of. Farm clearings are the inevitable result of a crazed bio-industry. Viruses spread and develop in great pace and hurt huge numbers of animals. Livestock farming in Europe hasn’t had anything to do with romance for a long time. When I was in Cornwall, the wife of the consultant said she was planning to buy new chickens. The couple that they had before had stopped laying eggs because of old age, and after that lived another six months. She was happy to give them their retirement, but you obviously don’t find that on a large farm. Choices are made based on economic considerations and the vast majority of the population is not willing to pay more for their meat. In the fifties it was normal or eat meat one or two times a week, what’s the problem with going back to that?
In my opinion, meat eaters should at least be realistic and familiarize themselves with the way the cows, chickens and pigs spend their lives. That is not difficult because the horrors of factory farming are widely captured on film. The website of 269life has some video clips from the Netherlands. I do not want to look at that myself. The images that the Hokjesman made are heartbreaking enough. He went to a rabbit barn with Remco Stunnenberg. Dead rabbits lay decaying between their (more or less) live companions. At the end of the episode it appears that Remco has taken a dead rabbit with him. The cocoon from the pet fair comes in handy now, because a symbol is raised. This rabbit gets a funeral and a cross on his grave:
It has been seen … it has not gone unnoticed.