Yesterday dawned as a regular, peaceful Monday morning. I love the silence of the morning. It helps me think and I enjoy working alone in the kitchen at this time. At around 6:30 am I was busy chopping vegetables and getting stuff ready to pack lunch for my daughter’s school. Suddenly there arose a very unfamiliar and heart rending cry of a pig in agony. Unfamiliar, simply because there are no pigs in the area and no one generally goes around slaughtering pigs in my neighbourhood. I let the first series of cries pass thinking it’s someone driving past with an unhappy pig on board. About 10 minutes later another fearsome cry filled the air and it went on for some time. From then on, the morning was punctuated with cries of pigs at an incredible decibel level. I was now worried that the ground next door to my house was becoming a slaughter house of sorts. I switched off the gas stove and decided to run down and inspect. My watchman was there already peeping into the ground next door. And of course there was a nice gathering of gazers. I saw a little van standing at the entrance of the ground. Stuffed at the back of this van were several well fattened pigs. There were about 15 of them, so terrified, that they were climbing all over each other to try and get to a corner and hide. It was a sad sight. Even as I took this in, I saw a group of men drag a pig out of the ground. It was resisting hard and it was with great effort that this group of 6 odd men managed to push it forward. As they neared the tempo, in a well practiced routine, a couple of them grabbed the pigs’ ears, a couple grabbed his hind and front legs and the rest grabbed various parts of the pig’s anatomy. At this point the pig started screaming, naturally, fearing for his life. I watched with horror as they unceremoniously lifted the heavy pig and literally threw him into the tempo. I feared that the pig might have broken his leg – given his considerable weight and his heavy landing. His landing caused panic amongst the pigs in the tempo and there was a mad, worried, scramble as they tried to find secure spots within their confined space.
The men were breathing heavily from the effort and while they were getting their breath back, I asked them what exactly was happening. One man, who refused to meet my eye said, these pigs had escaped, so they had somehow managed to chase them into the ground, where they were able to corner them and throw a net around them. Now they were taking each trapped pig and depositing it in the van. I asked what exactly they proposed to do with the pigs. The men shuffled uncomfortably and one of them looked at the ground and said, “there is a place nearby where they rear pigs, we are taking them there.”
It sure did not look like that to me. I could guess that they were taking the pigs to the slaughter house and perhaps that was for the best since most might have many broken bones by now considering the way they were being mercilessly flung into the van.
The men proceeded to haul the last two pigs trapped in the net into the van. I watched with horror as the pigs were unceremoniously lifted and flung in. Then, mercifully, the last of them was shoved in and the van drove off. I was feeling giddy with the cries of the pig and my helplessness was making me angry. Why did I not do anything to save the pigs? What could I have done?
Then this morning I saw a truck full of chicken cages. You know, those really tiny cages into which they stuff at least 4 fully grown chickens. I often wondered how the poor chickens could survive this nightmarish journey. Wouldn’t they get crushed to death? I got my answer this morning. A man got on board the truck and opened the cage, obviously the chickens were dead. He just opened the cage and dropped them down on the floor. This really saddened me. This complete lack of dignity in death.
I believe every living creature deserves to live with dignity. Even if you are taking them to the slaughter house, till their very last breath they deserve to be happy. No living creature deserves to be treated the way I witnessed. Makes me wonder, who the real beast is.