Saturday, April 2, 2011

Der Fall des Unglücklichen Kaninchen (Unlucky Rabbit)

It's almost Easter, and last week, I heard an interesting story concerning the fate of an unlucky rabbit at a German primary school.

As part of a week-long project focusing on the Stone Age, which is part of the fifth-grade curriculum, a rabbit was slaughtered by a local farmer in front of the students to give them an insight into how Stone Age people lived.

A total of 100 children took part in the Stone Age project. The process was relatively simple. The farmer hit the rabbit with the hammer. Next, he slit the animal's throat with a knife, gutted the body, skinned it and hung it up to drain. The next day, the rabbit was grilled in the school yard and eaten -- in Stone Age style, on a hot stone. Some parents also attended the rabbit feast. 

Shortly afterward, some outraged parents complained about the event. One parent stated that her son had come home as pale as a ghost, and another parent reported that her son could not sleep well after the event. One child also fainted as the rabbit was killed. 

Surprised by the complaints, the Schleswig-Holstein Education Ministry stated that the Stone Age project would be banned in the future.

I'm not sure how I feel about the project. On the one hand, the food we eat does come from somewhere. It doesn't miraculously appear in the supermarket shelf carefully wrapped in plastic. In our modern society, we've become disconnected with the land and forget where our food comes from. Most of us eat animals, and unless we adopt a vegan lifestyle (and I'm not ready for that), we are all part of slaughtering process. Animals eat other animals, it's part of the natural order. 

However, I do have concerns about the way animals are raised and whether they have some semblance of a life before they're slaughtered for our consumption. Each time I eat animal protein, I'm consciously aware that it came from a living creature. I know that some animal has given up his or her life so that I can consume an easily accessible form of protein. And for the record, I do eat rabbit. 

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