My personal journey with the theme of “ghosts” –
The journeys of the products we consume are invisible.
Cartons of milk do not advertise “The cow (recognized as CP#437A) who brought you this product gave birth to five calves who were taken away at birth and turned into veal at three months of age, also for human consumption. She lived with mastitis and painfully overgrown hooves and has of late been producing less milk. Her six year old body is spent and she will be shipped to slaughter soon and made into low-grade hamburger and dog food.”
Toothpaste does not advertise “This product was tested orally and topically on both macaques and rabbits. The rabbits were bred in captivity and the macaques were trapped in the wilds of Laos. The rabbits lived in a lab for a year before being euthanized. The macaques were kept in crowded cages with the forest just beyond their reach for two years, used for breeding and then shipped to China for six months so that they could be legally labelled as a reputable product of China. From there they were sent to our labs in the EU, Canada and Japan, where they remain in cages for reuse in product testing.”
In order for our present economic system to thrive and survive, the existence of these animals *must* remain hidden, unimportant, non-existent. Knowing about these hidden truths could awaken dissent in consumers; a costly price!
There are billions of lives climbed over and crushed so that we of the mechanized, commodified society can fulfil our desires. There is a growing sense now, however, that much of what we desire is marred in hidden costs, which is why I think things often seem hollow and worthless to us. Unseen costs, lives denied, lives tortured – coming to haunt us perhaps? To awaken us? In the end, the abuse of others for our own benefit does beget a sense of being haunted. They are the ghosts in our machine.
Please bear witness to their journeys and their lives with me.
Once you start really looking – seeing – you can’t stop. Their hidden lives will not haunt you at every turn, but will instead instill in you, in us all, a desire for change and alternatives to an abusive and invisible system.
It will change the world, for the better, for us all.
View Jo-Anne’s album of images called PROPERTY
The photograph above is taken by Jo-Anne McArthur. Maggie was bred and used for research and now lives in a loving home. Her story features prominently in The Ghosts in Our Machine. .