Wal-Mart has outdone their selves this year and made more than a few groups of people angry. They have introduced a large toy truck designed to model the slaughter house trucks that transport animals to be killed and processed for food.
Though some may say a toy truck is just a toy truck; children learn from their toys. This is evident in all the toys available that teach letters, numbers, shapes and colors. When a child is playing with toy cars and trucks, parents interact to teach the child. They can identify what a police car is for and what an ambulance is for. A child will choose a car that resembles his mother’s vehicle and in play will position the bread truck at the market place. The automobile export truck is always popular and even the garbage truck is a teachable tool.
Seeing a slaughter truck on the highways is always a sickening feeling. Even if you believe that eating meat is necessary and even if we accept this as a fact of life; somehow seeing a group of pigs or cows in the back of a truck being hauled off down the road is a bit shocking.
Parents do not agree that the slaughter house cattle truck is something we want to turn into a teachable moment. Wal-Mart is a huge distributor of toys and with their massive presence around the world; they have a good amount of influence on what toys will end up on the shelves and in our children’s toy box. More than 4000 people have signed a petition demanding Wal-Mart remove the toy from their shelves. Wal-Mart has not made a comment yet.
While animal activists are up in arms over this toy as well as many people who see it as a toy that promotes violence and killing and desensitizes children; others see it as a normal part of life. Some parents have said the transport truck is how animals are moved from winter to summer grazing. They point out that this vehicle moves herds that have been sold and that all animals on these trucks are not headed for certain death.
We will have to wait to see what Wal-Mart chooses to do about this toy. It makes you wonder though, why no one is fighting about the toy soldiers in full war gear or the toy guns that we give our children to pretend to kill each other. I guess we must choose our battles.