Ugh. As proud as I was of my region hosting the fabulous inaugural Niagara VegFest, I'm equally saddened and ashamed to be living in a region that's hosting their 13th annual PoultryFest Niagara this Saturday. I mean, I'm sure there are some harmless and perhaps even positive aspects to this event, but somehow I don't think celebrating chickens and chickenhood and trying to prevent them from being used and abused will be the main focus. At least, not judging from the "fun" competitions like Chicken Chariot Races, a wing eating contest and a drop the egg contest. Chicken chariot races? Seriously?
Okay, wait, maybe we'll have better luck with their Poultry Discovery Centre where they promise that we will learn all there is to know about our fine feathered friends. After all, in our local paper today enthusiastically endorsing CrueltyFest one of the organizers said that watching chicks hatch is one of the most popular activities among the youngsters, so no doubt they'll be informed of the important familial and social bonds and that they need to be respected, no? Sadly, the answer is likely a big fat NO, unless the following makes you feel more at ease than I do:
"Take a minute to watch Mother Nature work her miracles with our hatchery display. Chat with the experts and don’t forget to collect informative handouts from our industry partners and their representatives. Special thanks goes to our industry partners, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and the Egg Farmers of Ontario for their continued support..."
Yikes. But what really bothers me is that this event is being touted as a great day of family fun, and many of their activities are specifically geared to kids. Call me paranoid, but I can't help think that with the involvement of industry partners and informative handouts, it conveniently indoctrinates younger generations into believing that using other sentient beings is just okey-dokey. So sad. Actually, depressing as hell.
p.s. if a family member, who knows I'm vegan and what I would likely think of this event attended last year and said it was a lot of fun, how can we convey to the folks running this Fest (or to the forum members of Poultry Swap Ontario, for example) that what they're doing is NOT right, without sounding completely bonkers?