Every second, more than 3,000 animals die in slaughterhouses around the world. That’s not every day, month or year, but every single second.
These animals do not die humane deaths (which would be bad enough): they are often left to starve for hours - and sometimes days - before being led to slaughter. Other animals in the slaughterhouse often hear, smell or see the slaughtering of animals that have gone before them. The animals might struggle, fighting for their lives, which leads to their abuse by workers.
Is this the kind of thing we should be allowing to happen? Isn't it time we took a stand?
Dr Alex Hershaft, a Holocaust survivor and animal activist pioneer, has been protesting against the slaughtering of animals for over 30 years. Every year, he undergoes a fast as a way to do this.
The fast, entitled 'Fast Against Slaughter', takes place on the 2nd October and is about taking a day to think about the poor animals that are slaughtered and pledging to fast in honour of them. This date is considered to be World Day for Farmed Animals and it was chosen because it was Mahatma Ghandi’s birthday. Ghandi did almost 20 fasts throughout his life, using them as social and political protests.
Dr Hershaft has said that he has noted similarities between the way Nazis treated people and how humans treat animals. Both make use of harsh, punishing treatment and fall under an oppressive mind-set. He started the Farm Animal Rights Movement in 1976 as a way to take a stand against animal cruelty. This will be the first year that Dr Hershaft has asked people to join him in his fast. The response has already been incredible, with almost 10,000 people from countries around the world signing a pledge.
You can read the conversations that are taking place about the fast by checking out #FastAgainstSlaughter on Twitter. You can also sign the pledge here.
Although fasting on its own is not enough to make changes for the animals that are killed every day, it is definitely a way to bring more awareness to the tragic destiny that befalls them. It also serves to make people more empathetic towards those poor animals - by starving the way they have starved, we can begin to imagine the horror that they go through. And, when experiencing a small dose of that, we are sure to want to do even more to prevent such unnecessary and evil deaths.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons