Another shadow

Empathy can be a powerful thing. Anyone who has a pet dog or cat gains fresh insight into their inner lives every day. Some scientists have traditionally frowned at such empathy, describing it as ‘anthropomorphism’ – prescribing human characteristics to animals – and getting in the way of objectivity. But the unconditional love millions of dog and cat owners feel for their pets, cannot be underestimated. Recent research studies have identified that 14% of people in a relationship admit to loving their pet more than their partner.

But how many of those same animal lovers, pause to think of the life of the sentient being behind their bacon sandwich, sausage, steak or burger? Why this disconnect with the life of the sentient animals who provide our food? How can we react strongly to cruelty to our companion animals, yet seemingly turn a blind eye to the intolerable suffering of farm animals?

In days gone by, the butcher on the high street would have hung carcasses outside his shop. Today, many millions of pounds are spent on designing engaging packaging suggestive of happy farm animals in buttercup fields. Labelling terms are used to market the products under terms like ‘farm fresh’ and ‘country fresh’.

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