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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

When I was younger I was a Girl Guide. As described on their website, Girl Guides of Canada “provides opportunities for fun, friendship and adventures.” The movement creates activities in which “girls are encouraged to reach their potential, be independent, confident and caring.” I can say that most of my time spent with the different groups was fun. Mixed together were dramas, musicals, plays and adventure, some even deadly. I want to talk about this moment in time where I was at camp with my company.

We were located in this beautiful part of a forest, on a small island. We made our own firepits in the earth, cooked our food, washed our dishes singing traditional songs, etc. One day, appeared in a wire cage, two (maybe more, the details are blurry) chickens. The monitors informed us that these birds would be on our table that evening. The challenge would be to catch, kill, pluck and cook the chicken. Stop and read that again and visualize yourself doing all actions listed. Are you asking yourself “How?” I remember the girls playing “catch a chicken with a bag” as they ran around giggling. I can’t really explain how the killing part was done since I and a few other girls, who represented about one fifth of the company, chose to refuse the challenge. It is ambiguous whether we failed or triumphed that day. The chickens were killed; we heard they ran about with their heads cut off until they died, then they were cleaned. I remember being a few meters away from the slaughter point, my head lowered as I kicked some dirt around, listening to the chase and then the butchery, combined with comments made by the girls standing around me, disagreeing with what was going on, asking each other “How can they do it?” But that’s all we did. We hid away under a shielding tree, safe from any upsetting view, believing we were helpless...

Why didn’t I challenge all the other girls by asking them not to kill the chickens? Why didn’t I just speak and voice my opinions? I thought that there were no other options. Before hearing one guide say that she did not want to kill a chicken, I thought that there was no other choice but to slaughter those birds. In my mind, the monitors were some kind of authority that could not be confronted. Maybe somewhere along the way, I was trained to trust that adults knew better than the younger crowd.

It’s only years later that I discovered the existence of a group of people who were vegetarians. A few years later I stumbled upon veganism which opened the door to a world of alternative channels that were not so new. That is around the same time that my interest in reading boomed and since then I’ve been digging into all things concealed. I’m often overwhelmed by the information I find and either feel like I’m drowning or propelled no matter if it’s political, environmental or social. It seems like every day is another chicken challenge day…

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posted by Primessa Espiritu
1:52 pm


Blogger goatman said...

All I can say is that its a good thing the monitors hadn't selected a hog!

4:05 pm, August 02, 2006  

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