Soon here in Australia – on Thursday January 26 2017 – we will be celebrating Australia Day. This is a national public holiday, a day of family, friends and reflection. As the website “Australia Day” says:
“On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It’s the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It’s the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future… On Australia Day, half of the nation’s population of 24 million attend either an organised community event, or get together with family and friends with the intention of celebrating our national day. Many more spend the public holiday relaxing with family and friends”.
Australians everywhere will mark this day by embracing those Aussie traditions of family, togetherness, mateship, of giving everyone a fair go.
And so it is especially sad that the Meat & Livestock Association has appropriated this day as the centrepiece for a campaign to encourage us to eat more meat. In particular, to eat more lambs. Somehow the idea has been born that it is the Australian way to sit down to a feast of young sheep.
As Sam Kekovich, the buffoonish Lambassador said this time last year:
“At the end of the day, Australia Day is about a bunch of people coming together around a barbecue, over some lamb, taking a deep breath, and treating people the way you’d like to be treated. Lamb just brings people together. All your family, all your mates. That’s really what Australia Day is about.”
Really? To enjoy what Australia day is all about we choose to ignore all of that stuff about a fair go, about treating others as we’d like to be treated, about making Australia a better place, and instead indulge in the not inconsiderable exercise of killing as many young animals as we possibly can, just for the pleasure of it.
Well, I dunno, I just can’t go along with that. Every year, we steal over 20 million young sheep from their mums and slaughter them for absolutely nothing more than a moment of gustatory pleasure. And the M&LA wants us to ignore what that really means just so we can line their pockets with more profits.
Surely it can’t be that this is all we care about, the sole measure for human behaviours – that it feels good or that it makes money? Why not extend our circle of compassion and say no to profits at the expense of lives, say no to pleasure when the price is pain and suffering. This year for Aussie Day, how good would it be if more of us chose to leave animals off the plate entirely?
It’s a nicer thing to do, and more in keeping with the Australia that we should want to be proud of. One where maybe it’s OK to care for others.
Now THAT would be a fair go.
PostScript: How cool is this??? Dave Hughes tells us how it is