The Cycle of Death during Easter, Holiday of Rebirth   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

HOST: This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. This week we take a look at some of the customs and traditions associated with Easter that cause immense suffering to a number of animal species.

Easter Sunday, which annually commemorates the beginning of the new life of Jesus Christ will be observed this year on April 24, 2011. It is one of the happiest and most glorious celebrations in Christianity. How can such a day of joy and love involve cruelty to animals? Let's take a look at some of the traditions.

Baby Lambs

Baby lambs are regarded as a symbol of Jesus and thus have come to represent Easter. Both Jesus and the little lamb are so very gentle, loving, and kind. The Holy Bible often refers to Jesus as the “lamb of God.”

Jesus also called himself the “Good Shepherd” who descended onto Earth to look after his “flock” or followers. This great Master, by his example, taught us to care for and protect these and all other beings. On Easter Sunday, families often gather together to enjoy a feast and one of the items frequently on the menu is the flesh of the innocent and helpless baby lamb. Forcibly wrenched from their mother's side at only a few weeks of age, these vulnerable little sheep are taken to a slaughterhouse, hung up on a conveyor belt by the back legs, have their throats violently slit open, and then left to bleed to death. Later their skins are savagely ripped from the bodies and their flesh cut into large pieces for the “roast lamb” dinner.

VOICE (Baby Lamb): What is happening to me? Why am I in this enclosure? Yesterday I was suckling on my mother's milk, among the other members of my family. Today, I have been taken to a place called a slaughterhouse. There is blood everywhere, on the floors, on the walls, and on the man who put me in the pen. And the stench of rotting flesh and entrails is making me sick.

My little sister was pulled out of her pen by the neck a few moments ago. The sound of her cries as she was dragged away still echoes in my ears. The man with the blood on his clothes looked at me and said, “I'll be back for you next.” What did he mean by that? What have I done to be here in this place?

Rabbits

Another animal associated with Easter is the rabbit, as she represents spring's fertility and abundance of new life. Influenced by advertisements or stories of the Easter bunny, children may ask to have a rabbit as a companion at this time of year or their parents may impulsively buy a baby bunny as a gift. Unless the family is prepared to make the commitment to properly care for him or her, the purchase will mean a short life of utter misery for the rabbit.

VOICE (Rabbit): I am so afraid that I just can't stop shaking. Last week I was taken away from my mother and father and all the other members of my family. A lady put me in a small wire cage and tied a blue ribbon around my neck. My feet hurt in this cage and the ribbon cuts into my neck, but she doesn't seem to notice.

She told me her daughter would be happy to have a nice Easter bunny like me. But I don't like this cage, I don't like this house, and I am very, very lonely. Oh please, please help me get back to my own family!

HOST: Mary Cotter, vice-president of the House Rabbit Society, an international non-profit organization that rescues rabbits from animal shelters states that many of the bunnies adopted as Easter pets will never live to see their first birthday.

Some die from neglect or improper care, others are dropped off at animal shelters where euthanization is a common fate, while still others are simply abandoned in local parks.

Baby Chicks

The baby chick is closely identified with Easter as she represents the new life of Jesus. Often pet stores offer baby chicks for sale during the Easter season, and parents purchase them for their children as an Easter morning gift.

A sickening practice of some farms is to inject dyes into fertilized chicken eggs so that the babies hatched are different colors such as pink, blue, or green. This is done to make chicks look supposedly “cuter” and more desirable to buyers.

VOICE (Baby Chick): I hatched out of my egg only two days ago. Since then my life has been a continuous nightmare. For a while I was jammed inside a very uncomfortable cardboard box with 25 other babies. I don't know where my Mommy is. Why isn't she looking after me? Today a very big person saw me in my new home, the pet store, and said to the clerk he will take me away later after he is finished with work. I am very afraid and lonely. What will this big person do with me?

HOST: Delicate and vulnerable, the bones of the chicks easily break through rough handling and they may be inadvertently stepped on by children or adults. When the family no longer wants the gentle baby chick for whatever reason, she may be put outside to languish in a tiny cage, sent to an animal shelter, or abandoned in the wild where the chances of survival are slim to none. According to the American Humane Association, the majority of baby chicks given as Easter gifts die from stress or the lack of proper care within a few weeks of the holiday.

Egg-laying Hens

The Romans believed that “All life comes from an egg.” Christians consider eggs to be “the seed of life” and thus are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some families hide colored eggs for their children to find during Easter or serve them for breakfast on this day.

Did you know that egg production on factory farms is a story of extreme anguish and brutality? Almost all eggs come from facilities where chickens must live in miniscule battery cages stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses.

With four to six birds to a cage, they do not have enough room to turn around or even spread one wing. Eggs are taken away from the hens by a conveyor belt. The overcrowding induces stress in the hens and they begin to peck at each other. Rather than giving the hens more space, a standard vicious practice in the industry is to cut a portion of their beaks off with a hot blade.

After a year or two a hen's egg production begins to decline and they are then gassed to death in rolling kill carts. Young birds are brought in to start this horrific and inhumane cycle all over again. Eating, hiding or decorating eggs for Easter only helps to perpetuate this barbarism.

Pigs

HOST: Sadly roast ham is also often consumed during Easter. Pigs on factory farms are treated abominably from the day they are born until the day they are murdered. Thousands of pigs are tightly packed into sheds. Barely able to move, they are forced to stand knee deep in their own filth, inhaling ammonia-filled air, the smell of which is unbearable. After a few months, the young porcine, along with hundreds of his brothers and sisters, are all ruthlessly slaughtered, skinned, and sliced.

Is a moment's taste of roast ham on the tongue worth all of this despair and agony? Jesus Christ taught we must show kindness to all animals, and that they were placed here on Earth to act as our helpers. One of the Ten Commandments in the Holy Bible is “Thou shalt not kill.” Not only does this mean that we are to never slay our fellow humans, it also means that God intended us to always preserve the lives of his beautiful creations.

SONG CAPTION Sixth Commandment Music, lyrics, vocals by A.T. Musical arrangement by Geoff Duncan

Singer(f): All living beings carry God's light His spark in all creation shines bright, A sacred soul in all things living, The Divine Love is always giving

But we take Life, we waste and use it. The Divine spark, we just abuse it. The sacred lives, once free and able, Turned into corpses for our table

Physically, spiritually, logically it don't make sense What part of 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' don't you understand?

Physically, spiritually, logically it don't make sense What part of 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' don't you understand? How can we ever reach Peace among men When every day we kill our brethren? When will we stop this habitual genocide To satisfy our blood-thirsty appetite?

Physically, spiritually, logically it don't make sense What part of 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' don't you understand?

Physically, spiritually, logically it don't make sense What part of 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' don't you understand?

HOST: In a 2009 videoconference in Germany, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the need to show compassion to all animals and why we cannot bear to watch when they are tortured.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Our original God Nature is compassion and love. I repeat again and again and again: You are not that. You are compassion, you are love incarnate. Please return to it. So when we force ourselves to watch the videos of animal cruelty, which by the way are purposefully hidden from us for a reason so that we don't know, we flinch when we watch this cruelty even on video, or even when we heard reports about it. Just like before, we heard one of our brothers report about the cruelty everywhere - we flinch, we cringe, we look away, we cry, or we scream. We have nightmares. We cannot bear to see the cow, the pig, the chicken's throat punctured or slit so they bleed to death.

And other more gruesome, unimaginable ways of torturing animals. Or the force-feeding of a foie gras goose, or purposeful underfeeding of a baby veal calf, of confining him so that he has to keep his tender meat, that he could not even move his body for the rest of his tender short life.

Or the gruesome fate of baby chickens where the females have their tender beaks cut off while hanging upside down and males are grinded alive or suffocated to death.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: This is not the way God intended for us to live with our co-inhabitants. This is not the way we should behave as children of God.

The animals are our helpers, our friends, and Heaven's beloved.

Please remember that during festive times such as Easter and the rest of the year, all of us can very easily help our animal friends by only taking in an animal companion if we can truly care for them and simply making a different selection for our meals.

By choosing not to eat animal flesh, carcasses, organs and products; by not turning our stomachs into the graveyards of animals, we can ensure a better life for all beings. If we follow an organic vegan diet, all will live in tranquility, harmony and abundance.




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