Earlier this year, a truck carrying cows to slaughter rolled over. Two animals escaped from the overturned vehicle and made a run for it. One ran for the open doors of a supermarket--it would have seemed like a safe, enclosed space for a terrified animal.
In a twist of fate that is as nauseating as it is poignant, the animal was shot dead in the meat aisle. The resulting inadvertent scene is one that could have been staged by an artist or activist trying to raise awareness that meat, dairy and eggs are sanitized packages representing dead animals who wanted to live and who fought for their lives.
The gruesome scene would whet no human's appetite, yet strangely, restoring the supermarket to normal would involve even more blood and gore: skinning and chopping up the body to be packaged for sale.
When I shared this photo on social media, it went viral, with over 1400 people so far reacting to it. Many people commented to express their sadness that the animal was shot.
But the other animals in that rolled truck were sent straight to slaughter. They faced more uncomfortable transport, the scary sights, sounds and smells of the slaughterhouse, and a frightening death. Is that better than being shot in a supermarket?
This is another of the paradoxes of our species: when an animal escapes slaughter, we can't help but root for him or her. We intuitively understand that it is a matter of life or death for that individual--and we want them to live.
We don't realize that the villain in the story isn't the slaughterhouse. It is any of us humans who keep slaughterhouses in business.