If you're anything like me, then you're really looking forward to Easter.
Even if you're not religious, you get two days off work and an excuse to eat chocolate (as if we need one). A long weekend and a big bag of the sweet stuff? What’s not to like about a season like that?
Quite a lot if you’re a baby sheep and your legs are a coveted part of the human Easter dinner.
Easter is life
Easter, by definition, is a celebration of life. Three days after he was crucified, Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
He had given his life so that humans would be forgiven for their sins, an act that showed incredible compassion and emphasized enormously the importance of selflessness.
Jesus was so incredibly in love with the human race, that he suffered greatly so that they’d be forgiven for their selfishness, and live in heaven when they die.
Then he came back to life three days later to defeat death and evil.
It’s ironic, then, that so much death and evil happens as part of the Easter tradition.
Every year, especially for Easter, millions of lambs are sent to die so that humans can eat their legs, whilst they celebrate how glorious it is to be alive.
It's all about the lamb
The most profitable part of any female sheep for a farmer is the lambs she gives birth to.
Her wool is likely to fetch only 10 percent of the total amount of money she can make for a farmer in her lifetime. Her own body at slaughter is worth much less.
The main bulk of a sheep farmer's income comes from selling babies to slaughterhouses so that people can eat them.
But the lambs you see roaming around in the springtime are not your Easter lambs. No, those are babies who were conceived in the Autumn, when mother sheep naturally go into season.
You see, God made a mistake when he developed the sheep breeding cycle.
If we want lamb for Easter then we have to intervene in divine creation and force the sheep into season early so that we can have lambs born in January or December, when it’s too cold for them to be outside where they were supposed to be.
Your Easter lamb most likely never felt the grass beneath its feet or saw the sunshine.
Pulled in by profits, farmers breeding Easter lambs manage to impregnate their sheep early by giving them hormones or manipulating indoor light and temperature. Ah, the miracle of life.
Everyone's at it
Other symbols of Easter include the egg - the production of which kills 40 million male chicks in the UK alone every single year.
There's also chocolate - lovingly supplied by dairy cows whose babies have been forcibly removed.
And don't forget the bunny, classified as the most abused companion animal in the UK.
The Bible and animals
I'm aware that Jesus ate animals.
He commanded the preparation of the passover lamb by Peter and John. This probably means that killing and eating animals is not technically a sin as defined by Christianity, but does that mean that we should do it when we could eat something else?
The Bible says that God created everything, the animals included, and that he loves his creation.
Animals feel pain, and God created them that way. They're also anxious when their babies are taken from them.
Should we be causing pain and suffering to sentient beings that God created and loved?
As Earthling Ed so eloquently asked a man dressed as batman once: "There's a lamb in a room, and in this room with the lamb are Jesus and the Devil.
"Which one kills the lamb?"
The answer would, of course, be the Devil.
The Garden of Eden
There's more. The Bible says this about the garden of Eden: "And God said, behold, I have given you every herb and bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
Let's be honest, most of us do not go to Church. We don't pray every night, stone homosexuals to death or kill adulterers.
We shouldn't be using the Bible to justify eating animals. We certainly shouldn't be choosing to eat innocent babies for a festival that celebrates selflessness, love and life.
WWJD at Easter?
Christians are encouraged to ask themselves ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ whenever they're presented with a moral quandary.
There are plenty of delicious, cruelty-free alternatives to chocolate and animal flesh, and you can even buy vegan creme eggs.
With so many incredible products available today, I happen to think Jesus most certainly would not artificially manipulate a sheep's season so that she'd give birth to a lamb in time to take it from her, kill it, and then eat its legs for Easter.
I don't think he’d approve of the grinding up of male chicks, or the removal of calves from their mothers. I think he'd be appalled.
If you think so too, then choose life this Easter and celebrate by letting animals live theirs in peace.