Environmental and Animal Protection

Perspectives change when one is surrounded by so many violent deaths; one’s own life seems infinitely insignificant. When I look at the anonymous rows of ripped up pigs being pulled across the hall the question springs to mind: “Would things be different if humans instead of pigs were hanging there?” In fact, the anatomy of the hind part of the animal, fat, dotted with pustules and red marks, reminds me strangely of what squeezes out of tight beach clothes in sunny holiday places. The never-ending screams that fill the slaughter halls when the animals feel death, could also stem from women and children. Callousness is inevitable. At one point I can only think that I want it to stop. I want it to stop. Hasten with the electric stunning so that it stops. „Many don’t make any noise“, said one of the veterinarians, „others scream their heads off, without any reason.“

I look at the scene – how they stand there and scream “without any reason”. More than half of the time of my course had passed before I finally ventured inside the slaughter hall to be able to say: “I’ve seen it.” Here is the end of the circle which started with the unloading ramp and the dismal corridor with capacity for 4 or 5 pigs. If I had to portray the concept of “fear” in images, I would do so by drawing the pigs huddled up against one another in front of the closed door, and I would draw their eyes. Eyes I shall never forget. Eyes that everyone who wants meat ought to see.

The pigs are separated with the aid of a rubber cudgel. One of them is pushed in the direction of a space enclosed on all sides. It cries, and tries to back-up and escape from where it came, but there is no escape. At the press of a button, the floor of the pen is replaced by a kind of moving walk-way leading to another box. There the butcher – I secretly called him Frankenstein – activates the electrodes. A three-pointed stunning device, as the director explained to me. We see the pig bucking as the moving walkway is brusquely withdrawn and the twitching animal slides over a blood-covered slide. A second butcher plunges his knife under the front right of the pig; a flow of dark blood spurts and the body slumps forwards. A few seconds later, an iron chain closes around one of the animal’s rear legs and the animal is swung upwards. The floor is covered with a pool of blood at least a centimetre deep – a dirty, blood-spattered bottle of cola in the middle. The butcher grabs the bottle and has a drink.