It’s April 21st, Easter. A spring holiday celebrated with family, food, and faith. It’s a holiday steeped deep in traditions, especially when it comes to food.

As a vegan, I don’t have to tell you that these traditions can create challenges in the way we celebrate with others; you already know that they do.

You know that navigating the holiday — from the emotions resulting from knowing baby animals are at the center of many traditional Easter meals to dealing with families who can’t understand why you would have ever chosen to live vegan in the first place — the holiday can be a difficult thing to deal with as a vegan. You also know that opening your eyes to the atrocities done to animals changes the way you see mass celebrations of their deaths. It becomes something you dread, not look forward to celebrating.

I’m vegan, and I know these things too. That’s why I decided we all need an inspirational cute-fest to help ease our hearts and minds today. When you feel non-vegan Easter fatigue or want all the feel-good feels, scroll this post and meet animals who have made it to sanctuary and are now living free as individuals.

Their heart-warming stories are the perfect cure for non-vegan Easter fatigue and a beautiful reminder of why we’re vegan in the first place; for the animals.

Why Lamb & Pigs?

For many Easter cooks, traditional holiday meals typically feature lamb or ham. In the case of lamb, it’s long been the seasonal and spiritual celebratory meat in much of the world. In Australia, people eat an average of 21 pounds of lamb per person every year. Even though it’s not as popular here, Americans still consume about a pound of lamb per person every year.

But for Americans, Easter dinner means ham. In the case of Easter hams, the choice may just have evolved from a matter of economics and agriculture. Many people raised pigs, and after a long, restricting Lenten diet, the pigs became an Easter dinner feast.

Living vegan doesn’t mean abandoning personal or familial traditions; it means compassionately reimagining them. So, instead of featuring lamb or pigs as the centerpiece to a dinner table, I’m going to feature them as a compassionate centerpiece. One that reminds us that a better world is not only possible, but it’s also happening right now. And it’s happening right now because of people like you.

Meet the Animals

The animals you’re about to meet live at sanctuaries around the globe. Meeting animals face-to-face can make all the difference for someone who has never met one. In an instant, the word “pig” or “sheep” changes from an object, a food, into an animal, an individual who matters. 

Find a sanctuary near you: Worldwide Sanctuary Directory

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit an animal sanctuary, I highly recommend you do so. It can (and will) change your life.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Webster and Theo great each day with gusto and charm. #webster #pigs #pigsofig #pigsofinstagram #biggerpigger #bigpig #someone #pigsarepeopletoo #yolo

A post shared by Lasa Sanctuary (@lasasanctuary) on

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Did you know that March 1st is #NationalPigDay ?🐷 Amazing Facts About the Pig: ▪️ Pigs are extraordinarily intelligent. They are curious and insightful animals who are widely accepted as being smarter than young children of at least 3 years of age, dogs, and even some primates. ▪️ Pigs are extremely social animals. They form close bonds with other individuals and love close contact and lying down together. ▪️ Pigs are very clean, keeping their toilet area far away from where they lie down and eat. Even newborn piglets will leave the nest to go to the toilet within hours of birth. ▪️ Pigs are very peaceful animals, rarely showing aggression. The exception, as with many animals, is when a mother (sow) with her young offspring is provoked or threatened. ▪️ Wild pigs play an important role in managing ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity. By rooting, and thus disturbing the soil, they create areas for new plant colonisation. They also spread fruit plants by dispersing their seeds. ▪️ Pigs have a tremendous sense of smell. The large round disk of cartilage at the tip of the snout is connected to muscle that gives it extra flexibility and strength for rooting in the ground. ▪️ Winston Churchill famously said that “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.”

A post shared by Sunrise Sanctuary (@sunrisesanctuary) on

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Could you eat him for Easter?

A post shared by The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary (@thehappyherd) on

Special thanks to every sanctuary or rescue group listed for all the hard work they do for the animals 💚

Photo: Summer the rescued sheep. Farm Sanctuary, New York, USA, 2015. JoAnne McArthur, weanimals.org