Following public outrage over the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court’s decision to allow the sale and consumption of dog meat in Nagaland, PETA India has erected billboards in cities starting in Delhi and Mumbai calling out meat-eaters’ speciesism (a bias in favour of some species over others). The billboard shows an animal with a dog’s body and a chicken’s head, and asks, “If You Wouldn’t Eat a Dog, Why Eat a Chicken?”, encouraging people to go vegan. The billboard campaign is launched for World Meat Free Day, observed on 15 June every year, and aims to remind meat-eaters appalled by the court order that both dogs and chickens have the capacity to suffer and feel pain and want to live.
The use of animals for food causes suffering on a massive scale. Dogs are clubbed, fish suffocate or are cut open on the decks of fishing boats, and pigs are stabbed in the chest. In the egg industry, chickens are kept in filthy cages so small they can’t spread a single wing and newborn male chicks are ground up, burned, or buried alive since they cannot lay eggs, along with other unwanted chicks. Male calves in the dairy industry are commonly abandoned, left to starve, or killed since they cannot produce milk.
In addition, eating meat and other animal-derived foods has been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and obesity, while rearing and killing animals for food has been linked to a multitude of zoonotic diseases including SARS, bird flu, swine flu, Ebola, HIV, and likely COVID-19. A United Nations report concluded that a global shift towards vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of the climate catastrophe.
PETA India’s billboard makes the simple point that people who are disgusted by eating dogs should question why they consider it acceptable to consume chicken.