At this time of year, the clocks go forward, the days get a little longer and there’s (usually!) a feeling of excitement that spring has finally sprung! People are preparing to spend Easter weekend with their loved ones, enjoying each other’s company and of course, then there’s the food.
You have the choice to opt out of the traditions of cruelty that we’ve been raised on.
The wonderful variety of delicious vegan chocolates, recipes and treats means that you can enjoy this time of year even more knowing that you’re actively trying to make a difference.
As we lead up to Easter, take a moment to look around as you run your errands in your local supermarket and watch the adverts on your television. What can you see? Chocolate eggs… painted eggs, depictions of spring meadows and young lambs… happy families sharing special times.
Easter is synonymous with spring and new life – but there’s something disturbing about how it is often packaged up, marketed and sold to us.
Born to die
Easter is synonymous with spring – new life, new beginnings and a fresh start. But there’s something disturbing about how it is often packaged up, marketed and sold to us.
Adverts promoting Easter time invite us to fill our homes with spring bunnies, eggs galore and to stock up well to feed our loved ones over the long weekend. Springtime is celebrated with new life and fluffy chicks, as leaping lambs and other mammalian young explore their world, under the watchful and loving eyes of their mothers.
Little do these babies know, the world they have come into is not as it seems. Cruelty has no season, it happens all year round…
But little do these babies know, the world they have come into is not as it seems. Cruelty has no season, it happens all year round – and this is why it seems even more heart-breaking when we know the reality of what is going to happen to these animals – in the guise of celebration.
Across Europe, lamb is traditionally chosen as the main course for Easter lunch, symbolising Jesus as the lamb of God, after all Easter is a religious occasion. Lambs have always been closely linked with Judaism as well, predating Christianity, and stemming from the Jewish festival of Passover, when lambs were sacrificed so their blood could be used to protect families against the Egypt’s plague that threatened to kill each house’s first-born son. Less symbolically, lambs would also have been one of the first animals killed for meat after long, cold winters.
…the reality of a lamb’s life is that it is, quite simply, born to die.
Fast-forward a couple of millennia, and the reality of a lamb’s life is that it is, quite simply, born to die. According to the natural fertility cycles of ewes, they will give birth in spring, following a five-month pregnancy, however, many farmers are opting to lamb in the winter months instead, completely changing the natural cycle, and instead working to get the young lambs big enough for the Easter rush. Additionally, these young lambs are often castrated and have their tails docked, both of which are painful procedures. Then of course there’s the long, long international transportation hours that face some of these poor animals when they are taken away from their mothers.
How can we talk about Easter and spring without mentioning eggs? Chocolate eggs are everywhere, the more artistic folk will spend hours meticulously painting their hard-boiled eggs so that the children can enjoy a grand Easter egg hunt on the big day. But the truth is, the egg industry has hidden cruelty, and yes, even if the eggs are organic and free-range. With male chicks killed and disposed of at just one day old, and hens bred to lay 250-300 eggs a year, instead of the 10-15 they would do naturally, perhaps hunting for eggs isn’t such fun after all.
Life lottery: male chicks born into the egg industry will be killed within days – just for being born the wrong gender.
Come Easter Sunday, expect millions to be enjoying their chocolatey treats, but little do they know that the milk used should have belonged to a calf separated from its mother. And what happens to the calf? If male, it will either be killed (it’s cheaper to kill them than to rear them) or it will eventually be sold as beef (or even veal), and if female, it will grow to become a dairy cow and spend the next few years giving birth to young that will be taken away from her so humans can have her milk until she is no longer able to breed; there will be no more artificial insemination for her and she will be killed.
Broken bonds: mothers and babies will be separated shortly after birth. In a world with an abundance of dairy-free alternatives, is this suffering worth it just for a chocolatey treat?
These traditions that are associated with a time of happiness and celebration actually make no sense, when you think about it. How can we be grateful for spring and celebrate life when by doing so we are participating in the destruction of another creature’s life? How can we cherish our family surrounded by the death and pain of separating another?
The truth is, that once you have this red pill of knowledge, springtime and Easter will never feel quite the same again – and it’s a good thing!
The wonderful variety of delicious vegan chocolates, recipes and treats means that you can enjoy this time of year even more knowing that you’re actively trying to make a difference. You have the choice to opt out of the traditions of cruelty that we’ve been raised on, and we here at Veganuary want to help support you every step of the way.
Our online community is here to make the transition to veganism easy, rewarding and most of all fun!
Get your pen and paper at the ready, because here are our favourite vegan-friendly Easter must-haves:
Need some Easter feast inspiration? We’ve got you covered:
We’ve got loads of delicious recipe ideas here on our website – our Easter recipe section is packed full of flavoursome dishes to delight your taste-buds this Spring. With breakfast, lunch and dinner options, along with snacks and sweet treats – there’s something for every occasion!
We’ve gathered a few of our top picks – mix and match your favourites to create an impressive Easter feast!
- Spinach and Nutmeg Quinoa Bake
Easter is a time for gratitude, positive change, and new life – so what better what to celebrate than to go vegan? Make a new start this spring, and try vegan with Veganuary!
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