A Gruesome Halloween Nightmare at the Grocery Store

Sometimes I hate going to the grocery store. There are numerous reasons for my aversion. One is that I am tempted by foods down every aisle that I must remind myself I don’t eat. Not meat or eggs mind you, I’m talking about vegan junk foods like cookies and cheesecakes. I don’t consider products with animal ingredients food at all. But because there is such an abundance of vegan foods, I’m tempted down the chip aisle by salt & pepper potato chips and vegan nacho flavored corn chips. I’m tempted down the chocolate aisle and the cookie aisle with the abundance of decadent vegan options.

Many people don’t realize what a smorgasbord of junk food vegans have at our disposal. Being vegan does limit the calories available, which is a good thing in our first world cheese covered and marshmallow flavored food explosion, but there is plenty of vegan food that I feel vegans should avoid.

I do indulge on occasion, but not regularly as I feel staying healthy and trim is important for me as an animal advocate. As vegans, “health and beauty” image is always on trial and everyone is waiting to cross examine every sniffle and pound.

But avoiding junk food is a small inconvenience at the grocery store. What’s worse is the retched repulsion that first assaults the nostrils as the smell of rotting sea life and flesh hang in the air. Then, as much as I may try to avoid it, a corpse catches my eye. It may be a headless, featherless bird with skinny, stripped-bare wings, or a dead fish staring out from a glass counter, or a strip of grizzly jerky freeze dried into a plastic wrapper. I divert my eyes, but it’s too late. Once again, I have a shocking image in my mind that to me is like a horror movie; not only the repugnance of blood and guts, but the fear, anguish, torture, and suffering of another sentient being violently robbed of life.

But to the humans mingling around with shopping carts, this is dinner. As disturbing as the images are for me, for others, it’s mundane. This is sometimes hard to swallow, but I know that the day will come when people are aware and awake enough to see this sickening scene for what it is, a gruesome nightmare.

Dairy and eggs don’t evoke the same initial visual repugnance as meat, but once you know how the cows and chickens suffered for these products, you realize it’s just cartons and gallons of liquid meat. The suffering is the same. So even though they are not as visually disturbing, what they represent: painful bodily manipulations, tragic separation of families, a gruesome slaughter, is just as disturbing.

Animal Slaughter is a Horror Show

I find it fascinating that horror movies often depict meat cleavers, meat lockers, meat hooks, slaughterhouses, and other references to animal slaughter and animal flesh. On a primal level, we see the unsettling similarity of a sick serial killer hunting human animals and the slaughter of non-human animals for food. It’s unnerving. But farmed animals aren’t just watching a movie, they are living the nightmare.

I recently experienced virtual reality goggles where the image of pigs being slaughtered before my eyes was in vivid 3D. It was worse than any horror movie I have ever seen. The pigs had frantic fear in their eyes, they helplessly tried to escape and convulsed, thrashed, and screamed as the blood gushed out of them. This is not normal; this is not mundane. Throat slashing is a horror that no animal should ever endure.

I long for the day when the only meat at the store is made from beans and the only milk made from nuts. No blood and guts, just wholesome, healthy, not scary food. Where the only nightmares are tales told to children at Halloween and no one has to actually live, suffer, and die through it. Be sure to choose only vegan candy this Halloween and only cruelty-free vegan foods all year.

Happy Halloween!


Author: Hope Bohanec

Executive Director, Compassionate Living