It has been a trend in Lebanon for parents to give their children cute colored baby-chicks or pet rabbits during the Easter holidays. And, after all, the idea of a child holding a cute baby chicken seems sweet and will make great photos, right? Well no, wrong!
Although many farmers claim that the dye they use on chicks is harmless, many of them contain toxic chemicals. In addition to the harmful dye itself, the process of coloring baby chicks entails tossing them in large plastic bins, as if they were potatoes. This often leaves many of the chicks with broken legs or wings!
As if this wasn't enough, the chicks are then sold to whoever will buy them without any consideration for their long-term care. As a result, 90% of these animals don't survive, according to Beirut veterinarian Dr. Elias Nicolas, via animal rights group Animals Lebanon.
The same holds true for rabbits, unfortunately. Many parents purchase these small animals thinking that it would be a nice idea to get their children a real-life furry ball of cuteness, without any consideration for the proper habitat or food for these animals. Rabbits, after all, have a 10-year lifespan on average.
Because of this, many of these "gifts" end up abandoned on the street or put up in shelters, or worse, dead due to neglect.
So many in our culture have come to wrongly presume that these small creatures are a symbol of the season, hence it's okay for them to gift to their children. These kinds of decisions should be calculated based on the long-term care that these furry creatures require, and their overall well-being, rather than on the time of the year.
Moreover, this new custom, although seemingly appealing yet totally against the spirit of Easter, perpetuates the idea of innocent animals as a disposable commodity. This idea is being instilled in the children of those who purchase them and will continue to be nurtured in them if these inconsiderate practices continue to happen.
Needless to say that this new trend has to end before it builds into a tradition in our culture; an unconscious cruel one. Change won't occur unless we all take a stand. If you or someone you know is thinking about buying an "Easter pet" this year, think twice, and spread the message about how harmful it is for these poor innocent creatures.