By Rod Chichinoud

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.

Show your bills who's boss

For example, an image of a neon sign in the shape of a chicken 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. Or 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 animals are living feeling beings. Another example of speciesist imagery was found on the window of a shoe shop showing the image of a cow wearing leather boots. I myself received an advertisement through the letterbox this morning, 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. These images work daily on our subconscious mind in an insidious way, and shape how we think of animals as products who can be hurt, killed & sold whichever way we chose. As we start looking out for these images, we’ll find that they become easier to spot.

How many speciesist animal advertising images have you noticed lately in your shops or along the streets?

Send pictures of them to Vegan Ireland at vegansireland@gmail.com and they will put them online. Or simply email in your thoughts.

Rod Chichignoud.