Posters at City Hall MRT station pair a pet and a farmed animal, and ask commuters, “Why Love One But Eat the Other?”
Passengers boarding and alighting from trains at City Hall MRT station can look forward to thought provoking posters on all 96 of the interchange station’s train doors. From 27 March to 9 April, 2014, the posters will encourage riders to question their meat eating habit.
The basic structure of each of the three different posters consists of a large photo pairing two animals: one whom we care for as a pet and the other whom we eat as food. The three pairs are: puppy and calf, kitten and chick, and puppy and piglet. Above the photos is the question: Why Love One But Eat The Other?
The campaign is being run by Vegetarian Society (Singapore), a local charity founded in 1999 and devoted to reducing meat consumption. VSS President Clarence Tan explained, “This campaign originally ran on the subways in Toronto, Canada. We saw the impact that the posters had there, and we are confident that also here in Singapore, the posters’ message will encourage people to examine their own eating habits”.
VSS Treasurer, Heng Guan Hou, described the fund raising necessary to pay the almost $50,000 for the posters’ two-week run. “We began raising funds in late 2013, and last week we finally met our target, thanks to donations from hundreds of people”.
Ashley Chow, the VSS Education Officer, explained the thinking behind the posters, “People in Singapore do care about animals. We see this, for example, in the love people lavish on their pets and in the government’s tougher measures to combat abuse of animals”.
One of the more interesting occurrences in the lead up to the campaign launch was when SMRT, at the behest of LTA, requested the removal of photos showing the horrors that farmed animals endure on factory farms. In the end, we reached a compromise; the potentially discomforting photos were covered, with an explanation, “Censored: These photos were deemed too graphic and may upset the public. For the full posters, please visit www.loveustoo.sg”.VSS Communications Officer, Ganga Sudhan, stated, “We sincerely appreciate the willingness of LTA and SMRT to reach a constructive compromise on this matter”.
Support for the poster campaign has come from many individuals and organisations. Dr Ho Soon Lye, MD, addressed the issue of whether meat eating is necessary for health, “Vegetarians can easily stay healthy on a daily vegetarian diet of carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals, which can be easily obtained from our local markets or from neighbourhood vegetarian food-stalls or restaurants. In general, throughout their lives, committed vegetarians tend to have less health events and live longer life-spans with quieter, happier and more contented lives”.
Louis Ng, Chief Executive of ACRES, a local organisation well known for its defence of wild animals, stated, “ACRES wholeheartedly supports this important campaign which will highlight the plight of farm animals. If animals don’t have a say in their treatment, then it is up to all caring human beings to give them a voice, speak up on their behalf and end the cruelty. We hope that more people will support this campaign and join us in fostering compassion and respect for all animals.”
Another animal welfare leader, Veron Lau, President of Cat Welfare Society, added, “Loving our pets yet eating animals does often pose a dilemma for many animal lovers. We ask ourselves if we cared to save and prevent one from suffering, should we not do the same for the other. Whether we are animal lovers or not, we should make it a priority to live mindfully and that includes thinking about where our food or pets come from because we are part of a consuming chain and have the collective power to affect ethical change through our choices.”
Last, but not least, Ann Lek, Education Officer at the SPCA, stated “’Why love one but eat the other?’ It’s thought-provoking, and gets us thinking about the love we have for our companion animals. Many of us are passionate about helping our canine and feline friends. How can we extend that care and compassion to farm animals? Go vegetarian or eat less meat? Be conscious of how that animal got onto your plate. The choice is in your hands.”
Watch a video explaining the campaign: