The image kept coming back. In flashes. Violent and clear.
A grey bin bag flying into the rubbish container at the side of the road.
The air filled with death and cold indifference.
One of our dogs had already killed six of our chickens. It was Friday, sunshine at noon, my house mate's birthday. The lunch guests were about to arrive when I saw another dead chicken on the lawn. Not the best sight when the family is coming for a birthday gathering...
Since there wasn't much time I did the first thing that came to mind: I grabbed a bin bag, put the dead chicken in and drove to the nearest rubbish site. Slightly in a hurry, I stopped, engine running, got the chicken bag out and threw it into the container.
Two minutes later I was back home.
While the chicken started to rot away, covered by all sorts of other stuff that we throw away, my own life continued as usual. But then, out of nothing, the images of that moment at the rubbish container started to infiltrate my mind. And my heart.
The day after the birthday lunch (which was totally vegan by the way), we indulged in a huge and very tasty Argentinian BBQ. Chewing on the blood-drenched meat, a wave of pleasure sailed over my face. Here I was, eating death and enjoying it.
Then the memory of the dead chicken returned...
Ethically and morally it's a very weird and definitely questionable habit to eat meat, but I guess it's just something many of us do. So let's accept that for a moment.
What's totally NOT acceptable though is that we kill other beings AND treat them like shit, every single day of their lives! We steal the babies from the mothers, we pump them up with drugs and crappy food, put them in cages, no fresh air, hardly space to turn around, noise, excrements everywhere and no hope for any happiness. Then, after a short and miserable life, we kill them, eat them and don't even say thank you.
The chicken that I've thrown into the bin got killed running around the garden, by a dog who probably just wanted to play. Bad luck, and nothing I can do about.
But here's the question I've been asking myself ever since that day: The chicken had given me eggs to eat for many months – didn't it deserve a bit more than a heartless flight into a black container? A little gesture of gratitude, was that too much to ask for? I still can't believe that I didn't take the time to dig a hole somewhere and at least show the chicken some respect. Shame on me!
Carnivore, vegetarian, vegan – it doesn't matter. Well, it does, but what's much more important is something else: Whatever we do, whatever we eat and consume – shouldn't we make an effort to do it in a respectful manner? Shouldn't we care for and love everything that helps us to enjoy life? Whether it's a chicken, an apple tree or a mountain spring; whether it's a person who makes our clothes or a whole planet that provides food, shelter and special moments.
How long until we become beautiful humans?
Time to care.