Nancy the Pig

This is part of our Ad Nauseam series – a look at advertising through the ethical vegan lens.

I noticed a billboard on the way home recently. The slogan: Long live bacon.

The words really got me thinking, and I have no doubt they were chosen carefully. But they are false. Bacon is dead. It’s the bellies of pigs that were raised and killed in deplorable conditions so that humans can have something salty and greasy with their breakfast or on top of their (dead) hamburger. Bacon is dead pigs, and they didn’t live very long at all before we cut them up into parts. How long have we had this sanitized, disembodied relationship with meat?

I did some Googling this weekend to find out what that relationship currently is. We intentionally don’t link to these types of things here, but some of what I found:

  • Bacon-Fest 2014 to benefit the Rehabilitation Center of Kansas City
  • A self proclaimed “certified baconologist” at the Western Idaho Fair, cashing in on “the ongoing American craze for bacon” by selling it on a stick
  • An all-bacon bar to open in Montreal

Back to the advertising of pigs and other animals as food. There is a barbecue restaurant nearby, and its logo is a pig in a cowboy hat, holding a plate of “killer baby back ribs” (you know they’re killer because said pig is wearing a bib that says so), wielding a fork in his other hand and licking his lips. As I stared at the image in disgust, I heard Jason Mraz singing from my speakers. Since he wasn’t on my iTunes playlist this morning, I scrolled down the page, and there was the media player. Someone should let Mraz know that a barbecue joint is using his music on its site; I hear he is an ethical vegan himself and I’d like to know what he thinks of that.

It’s really offensive when animal-based products and establishments use animal characters to sell their wares. It’s equally offensive when organizations hold benefits where they sell dead animals to raise money. And let’s not forget things like the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is raising a ton of money for ALS research, unfortunately to the detriment of various species of animals used in testing.

What does all this have to do with that billboard slogan? Long live bacon. An impossible command, one that speaks volumes about how we continue to view animals. In other words, we don’t.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals