The following article was written by Lauren Gordon.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the freeing of
the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Observed for eight days, Passover
commences with a traditional Seder dinner on the eve of the first full day.
During a ritual Seder service that accompanies the feast, the story of the
Israelites' slavery and consequent liberation is retold. As I prepare for my
own family's Seder and contemplate the meaning behind Passover, I am reminded
of the slavery that is taking place today—on America's factory farms.
Animals raised for food on today's factory farms are treated
as mere commodities and deprived of the opportunity to express their natural
behaviors. Chickens on factory farms spend their entire lives crammed into tiny
wire cages. Each hen has an area smaller than a piece of notebook paper to
stand in, without enough room to spread even one wing. Cows raised for food on
factory farms are branded with scorching hot irons, have their horns cut or
burned off, and are castrated—all without any painkillers. Thousand of cows are
crammed together on mud- and feces-filled feedlots. They're fed extremely unnatural
diets, including large amounts of antibiotics, to fatten them up and ward of
infections that are caused by their horrific living conditions. When it comes
time for slaughter, cows, chickens, and pigs are loaded onto trucks and face a
long journey, which often lasts several days, through all weather extremes,
without any food or water. Upon arrival at the slaughterhouse, many cows are
too sick or frightened to walk and are dragged from the truck by chains or
prodded and beaten until they get up. This is often the first time that these
animals ever breathe fresh air or feel the warmth of the sun on their skin.
Passover celebrates liberation, and I choose to omit meat
from my Seder and dinner plate in order to avoid infringing on another's
freedom (in this case, animals on factory farms). With so many alternatives to
using animals at the table, from replacing the traditional lamb shank on the Seder plate with a beet to creating vegan versions of traditional Jewish recipes, it's easy to celebrate compassionately. My favorite Passover treat is Matzo
Brittle—a sweet and festive way to end the meal. Try out this recipe below from
Chocolate Matzo Brittle1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips2 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrupPinch of cinnamon2 matzos, broken into pieces slightly larger than
bite-size1/3 to 1/2 cup
lightly toasted nuts (e.g., sliced or slivered almonds, chopped walnuts,
pecans, or pistachios)1/2 cup dark or
golden raisins, dried cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit, such as
apricots, mangoes, or pineapple
Just before serving, break up into large chunks
and transfer to a serving platter.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.