Crackers Unchained

PETA strikes again. The wild fauna of Animal Cracker fame have been set free on the cover of their Nabisco boxes. Where once they were held captive in cages, depicting P.T. Barnum’s Circus, they now roam unfettered and unconfined. This obviously is a blow to zoo lovers everywhere.

If you look at the new containers, you may be put in mind of the Peaceable Kingdom painting of Edward Hicks. Lions, giraffes, and elephants wander shoulder to shoulder with harmony and purpose. Zebras and gorillas have been thrown in for good measure. I have to say, I wouldn’t want to run into this horde no matter how serene they appear to be.

Apparently, this victory was won at the behest of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Back in 2016, they sent a letter to Mondelez International (parent company of Nabisco) saying the following:

“Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats.”

Interestingly enough, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folded their tents (literally) the next year in 2017. Now, all the cages are gone—both on the box and off.

One of PETA’s executives rejoiced over the victory by saying,

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals crackers perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates the caging and chaining of wild animals for circus shows.”

I’m not sure how accurate that statement happens to be, but the bars ARE gone. She could be right. At least Mondelez thinks so. They ditched a century-old tradition, and all is right with the world.

It just dawned on me that I buy my animal crackers in large, clear, plastic containers. They are packed together, laying on top of one another like sardines in a tin. I’m pretty sure that’s really inhumane. It’s a bit reminiscent of the mass graves in Nazi concentration camps. I wonder if PETA has issued a letter to Costco. If they have, it hasn’t taken effect as yet.

When it comes right down to it, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter how these delectable little morsels are packaged. People will be gnawing on them and biting their heads off however they’re depicted or revealed in the packaging.

And that little fact is probably the real crux of the matter. Pretty soon we’ll all be receiving letters from PETA urging us to become vegans. Animal crackers (at least in the form of beasts) will be banned, and some executive will announce that our society no longer tolerates the eating of animal flesh.

I guess we could blame Noah for all of this. The whole ark thing preserved all the four-legged creatures and such. Ultimately, we’ll have to blame God, however. He gave us the animals for food in the beginning of Genesis 9. What in the world was He thinking?

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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