As Christians, we remember the suffering of our Savior this Easter season, and we also remember hope in His resurrection. The sounds of Easter are joyful—mostly.
One joyful sound is the Paschal greeting of Matthew 28:6. As Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Joseph arrived at Jesus’ tomb, the angel announced, “He is not here; He is risen, just as He said.” Therefore, we too greet one another with “He is risen,”and we respond with “He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
Yet in the background of these sounds of celebration are the cries of animals abused and killed for Easter meals or spring fashion.
Imagine the urgent bleating of terrified lambs driven to slaughter. Hear, if you can, the resonant pitch of the shears as they recklessly cut into the skins of panicked sheep in shearing sheds. Such cruelty is both unnecessary and ungodly indeed.
In a nation where more than 60% of the population self-identifies as Christian, around 37,000 lambs and adult sheep are slaughtered every week.
Isn’t it only our stubborn attachment to mere taste preferences—whether for a particular dish or a certain sweater—that keeps us buying lambs’ flesh or wool in the face of such endemic cruelty? Aren’t such purchases “contrary to human dignity,” which is how the Roman Catholic Church describes actions that “cause animals to suffer or die needlessly”? How can we continue to wear garments woven from agony, yarn once wet with innocent blood? How can we support the terror and suffering inherent in the wool and sheep-flesh industries?
This Easter, as Christians remember the Passion and slaughter of the Lamb of God, we should remember, too, the countless lambs and sheep—among other species—who are also violently killed.
If we willfully support cruelty to some of God’s meekest, there may be consequences well beyond the pain and death they endure. For we “crucify [Christ] still, when [we] delight in [our] vices and sins,” according to St. Francis of Assisi. And if, as His Holiness Pope Francis wrote, Mary “now … grieves … for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power,” is she not grieving for the lambs and sheep who were destroyed for our purchases?
Let us start to bring a new sound to the Easter celebration. Let’s sing the Lamb of God’s good news to all creation by leaving lambs and sheep off our plates and their skin and fleece off our backs. Let us proclaim a new commitment to vegan living so that all God’s people can greet one another with “We are vegan. Vegan indeed. Alleluia to a compassionate Easter—and forever!”
PETA LAMBS is excited to share these vegan Easter recipes and wool-free items. If you’re interested in learning more about how to go vegan all year long, order our free vegan starter kit. You can download our new Creation Care Toolkit to share with your faith community too!