Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia
It’s easy to forget (since we can’t go overseas) that we live in a different hemisphere and climate zone to many of the shows we watch on TV. While the northerners shiver in Arctic conditions for Christmas, we try to escape heatwaves. So why blindly follow foreign eating habits?
Ham, the flesh of the pig, is still promoted as a Christmas food, despite the fact that it is apparently an ancient pagan ritual – a sacrifice to the Norse god Freyr, associated with harvest and phallic fertility. Too hot here for any of that in December!
Pigs are friendly, loyal, and intelligent animals. But ninety per cent of pigs in Australia are kept on factory farms, where they spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy warehouses suffering intensive confinement, the mothers in gestation and farrowing crates, where they can hardly move. Their babies are forced onto trucks at just six months of age and sent for slaughter. Video footage from the gas chambers used to stun them shows pigs screaming and writhing in pain as they suffocate.
If that’s not bad enough, the majority of ham and bacon in this country is imported, from countries where the welfare and hygiene conditions are usually even worse.
This is supposed to be the season of peace on earth, not torture in a cage. For a truly compassionate Christmas dinner, skip the pork aisle and check out ‘The Ultimate Vegan Christmas Cooking Guide’ on PETA’s website.