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How have you explained to your daughter the following situation: Driving on the highway and passing a truck with pigs or chickens destined for slaughter? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks. - Lisa
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I really think this depends on the age of your child and his/her maturity level. You don't mention how old your child is so I'll give my recommendations for various age groups. Obviously, the goal is to tell them the truth, but to keep the graphic details in line with the child's ability to handle them.
For children under 3 years of age: I don't think you need to say much at all. Chances are they won't notice the truck or the animals. If they do, I would steer the conversation away from that topic. "Yeah, look at the animals. Hey, what's your favorite animal? Mine is a cat. I just love their soft fur and how friendly they are. Remember the kitty we saw at..." And so on.
For children 3 to 5 years in age: I think kids in this age range might notice the animals in the truck and maybe think they look sad or uncomfortable. You could acknowledge that the animals are not very happy being in that truck and that you hope someday the animals will be allowed to roam free. Then steer the conversation towards something else.
For children 5 to 8 years of age: I wouldn't address the issue unless they bring it up with you first. If they ask why all those animals are on the truck (or crammed into cages, if that can be seen) I would reply, "The person driving the truck is taking those animals to the store so people can buy them. It's not very nice and the animals don't like it. It's too bad, really. Hopefully some day that will all change and the animals will be allowed to live in peace." If they don't pursue the topic after that, say nothing and steer the conversation towards something else. If they pursue the topic I might reply that there are people working to help the animals and someday you hope the animals will be free to live their lives in peace.
For children 8 to 12 years of age: Without being graphic you could tell them that the animals in the truck are being taken to the slaughterhouse. Lament about how sad that is and commend them on being vegan, acknowledging their part in making the world a better place for animals. In other words, redirect their thoughts towards what they can do to help animals.
For children over 13 years of age: Let them ask you questions, give them honest answers. If they are the type that feel good about taking action, help them write a letter to the owner of the company whose truck they saw, asking them to please stop killing animals for food.
Always tailor your answers to the maturity level of your child. There's no need to upset them unduly. There's plenty of time for them to learn the gruesome details. Let them be kids as long as they can.