”The idea of using an image of an animal for advertising a product is in itself harmless, but the context of how the image is used with regards to the product it is trying to sell can be contradictory and speciesist.” – Rod Chichinoud. I’ve only recently began to realise how often images of animals are used for advertising, especially when the advertisement is for meat, dairy, eggs, wool, leather etc. Often, it’s followed by an animation of a winking chicken or a smiling cow. Years ago, I would of viewed these images as harmless but now I realise that they are designed to work daily on our subconscious mind in a manipulative way, and shape how we think of animals as products who can be hurt, killed & sold whichever way we chose.
However, I believe that an image of a neon sign in the shape of a cow or a pig is in itself ok, but put these images outside a restaurant or shop selling the animals’ dead flesh, and these images take on a horrific meaning.
And how about those images we come across which suggest that animals are well looked after and enjoying their freedom? The picture of a chicken happily taking a ride on a smiling farmer’s tractor, an image which in itself seems inoffensive, until we make the connection that this picture is the advertising on the packaging of a dead chicken. Most people seem to forget the killing process that occurs after they have lived a fraction of the years that their bodies were designed to live.
Or what about the sign which hangs in a butcher’s shop showing a lady hugging an animal in her arms? These are all images which brainwash the public to disconnect from the idea that slaughtering animals is both a cruel and unessesary murder.
Writer Rod Chichinoun mentions another example of speciesist imagery that was found on the window of a shoe shop showing the image of a cow wearing leather boots. If you live in Ireland you might have received an advertisement through the letterbox recently, showing an image of a dead shark hanging from a rope by his tail, with the slogan “Show Your Bills Who’s Boss”.
”Offensive Animal images can be as deceptive as a toy sheep puppet made from wool, or a child’s toy of plastic pigs enjoying a barbeque. You may argue that these are just innocent toys, and that I am reading too much into them. But the reality is that there is a definite disconnection between the living animal and the message these seemingly innocent products are sending out.
These are some examples of speciesist animal imagery which we pass each day and take no notice of. As we start looking out for these images, we’ll find that they become easier to spot.”
-The Vegan Lily