Every voice matters, every signature matters and every children’s book matters.
At the time of writing, a mass petition to ban cage farming in Europe has been delivered to the European Commission. It was signed by 1.5 MILLION people.
The reality of where most meat, milk and eggs comes from is not an easy subject to talk about with children – no doubt this is the reason why most children’s books about farming never mention meat or cages. Most farm books written for children show free-range animals living on small holdings.
This adds to the invisibility of farmed animals and the cruelty they suffer. As Kate Stewart and Matthew Cole write:
The history of intensive animal farming has led to a progressive removal of animals from public view, through relocating farms, increasing security measures and the use of the laws of trespass to inhibit the exposure of cruel practices.(The Conceptual Separation of Food and Animals in Childhood, 2009)
So what children need are some bad guys to show them what goes on behind the barbed wire and hi-tech security systems…
Thank Goodness for Aaron Blabey’s hilarious series: The Bad Guys
The Bad Guys: a wolf; a shark; a snake; and, a piranha, are tired of being villains. So, they form The Good Guys Club and seek out good deeds to try and change their image. Watch the video from Scholastic to get the idea:
In Episode 1, The Bad Guys decide to free 200 puppies from a maximum security city dog pound. This is easy, they just have to open the cages…by distracting the security guard, dressing the shark as a cute damsel in distress and then making sure the dogs run for freedom and not stay in their cages for fear of well… a shark, a wolf, a snake and a piranha…
With thousands of dogs being destroyed because they are in ‘kill shelters’,⁄ Episode 1 has the potential to get kids asking why the puppies need to be freed when they could be adopted by a loving family.
But it is Episode 2: Mission Unpluckable that The Bad Guys really highlight a terrible reality.
Why do the chickens need rescuing from Sunny Side Farm? It looks a very happy place!
And why is the security so tight?
Fortunately, The Bad Guys have Legs, the tarantula who is a super-hacker.
With Legs on the job, disguises at the ready, and some mission impossible manoeuvres, and despite one hungry snake, the chickens are freed.
The Bad Guys series is HILARIOUS. A must buy for any library, reluctant reader and compassionate human.
For more children’s books about chickens, including caged chickens, see my other reviews here: C is for Chicken