Can’t Think Of A New Year’s Resolution? Just Be Kind


Australia for Dolphin’s Jordan Sosnowski has had a new year epiphany, courtesy of some roadside animal cruelty.

It was three days after Christmas and my husband and I were stuck in holiday traffic listening to Tay Sway’s “Shake it Off”. Not the stop/start kind of traffic jam that’s annoying, but bearable. I’m talking the this-really-is-the-end-this-time-oh-heavens-there-is-no-god kind. So, less like jam and more like marmite I suppose.

Earlier we’d been arguing about music selection and discussing 2016 resolutions.

We were on the way to Byron Bay and clearly weren’t the only ones. But then, out of the blue, black marmite ether, an enormous truck pulled up next to us and stopped my lip-syncing in its tracks.

The truck was filled with pigs.

The side of the truck had metal grates and the pigs were stuffed into every spare bit of space imaginable. I’d seen trucks carrying animals before and they’d always made me stop and feel sad for a few seconds. But this was different.

The way their snouts poked out of the grates made me think of our dog Blake, who does almost the same with his nose out the window of our Suzuki Swift.

I wanted to wind down my window and touch their furry pink noses. A small gesture, but one that might momentarily transform their experience from commodity to companion. To somehow make them see that not all humans were bad. I imagined running out and stopping the driver, offering him wads of cash to save the pigs and turn the truck around.

But I didn’t. And the truck lurched on, no doubt to its inevitable destination, which would of course be the last stop for its unlucky passengers.

(IMAGE: Heather Paul, Flickr)
(IMAGE: Heather Paul, Flickr)

And the thing is, despite Taylor Swift’s insistent call to action ringing in my ears, it’s now days later and I can’t shake it off. This morning someone next to me ordered bacon and it made me want to vomit. And scream. And ultimately, cry.

But once I’d stopped feeling so self-righteous for a second, I realised that all my new year’s resolutions, so carefully planned out, were completely selfish.

Learn a language. Why? To be better at my job.

Learn to sew. Why? To show off my handmade clothes and lord it over my friends.

Save money. Why? To buy crap I don’t need.

None of my goals focussed on being a better, kinder person.

Last night I played an awesome but horrible satirical game called Cards against Humanity. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re lovely and don’t ever change. Also – don’t read on.

The game gets you to fill in blanks for questions like “Daddy, why is Mummy crying?” You then have to choose from various hideous (but occasionally applicable) answers like:


Dirty nappies.

Hospice care.

The game is ultimately funny in its absurdity and makes you realise the world can be a pretty horrid place. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be.

We all know by now that pigs are incredibly intelligent. IQ tests show pigs can outsmart not just dogs but chimpanzees too. So why do Aussies treat dogs with tenderness but only test pigs for it on the barbie – is pork really that delicious?

I wouldn’t know. As a Jewish vegetarian I’ve never eaten the stuff. Every year Australians eat around 20 kilos of pork and 94 per cent of it comes from factory farms.

Who knows, perhaps I am missing out on some mind-blowing taste experience. But even if I am, I still couldn’t eat it. The image of the pig’s snout won’t go away.

When the truck finally passed us and traffic started moving, my husband asked if I was alright. I replied “of course”, hastily, not wanting to ruin the holiday mood.

But I wasn’t. And I’m not really alright about it now.

There were hundreds of lives in that truck. No, not human ones, but lives all the same. And now there’s not, all for the sake of a meal we don’t need.

Which brings me back to marmite.

Being kind this year isn’t going to fix everything (including horrible traffic jams and the taste of certain condiments). But it is a good place to start.

Jordan is the Advocacy Director at Melbourne-based organisation Australia for Dolphins. She graduated from Monash University with a Master of Laws, Juris Doctor. Jordan was admitted as a lawyer in NSW in 2013 and is an Associate Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.