The Screams

We have a pig farmer as next door neighbour at my pasture. I have never spoken to the guy. Or any of this family, really. I have never seen any of his pigs.

He has cows too. They seem to be happy, well cared for cows, that actually gets to go out on a pasture every day. Which is something most cows never get to do. All in all, he is a cool neighbour, because he doesn’t interact with me. He keeps his trees out of my electric fence, and he does not complain if I cut some of them down once in a while, to ensure my pasture.

His pigs doesn’t get to go out though. Not ever. I only know that he has them… Because they scream.

They scream, when they are beaten.

There is just no way of describing it. No words that could do it justice.

I am not a vegan, because of some religious believes. I don’t eat animals, because the thought of meet makes me sick. And, because it is an industry build on torture, abuse and pain, so far beyond anything you can imagine.

I guess that most people don’t know what goes on in pig farms. I hope they don’t know. If they know, I can’t imagine how anybody would ever buy bacon. You have got to be a special kind of broken inside, to support an industry like this one, if you know.

When pigs are loaded into transports to be taken to the slaughter house, they are beaten. And I am not talking a slap on the ass, to make it move. I am talking beaten, as in, “if this was a dog, I’d have you arrested instantly, beaten.”

They “tattoo” the pigs. Give them a number. They do so, with a hammer, beating the number into their flesh. And they use electric devices to make them move.

I know, my fence is electrified. My poor horses, who am I to talk then? It’s not the same though. First off, it is illegal in Denmark, not to have your fence electrified when you have horses. Second, my horses can just stay away from the fence, and it never has to hurt them. Third, it keeps people out of my pasture… Which is a really, really good thing.

I was at the stable the other day. It was a nice sunny day for a change. I was grooming the horses, when the transport showed up next door.

When I say “next door,” I will have to add, that it is quite a long way away from my horses houses, even if it is next to part of my pasture.

Then the hitting began. And the screaming.

The force used, for me to be able to hear the blows, from such a distance, clear as day… I don’t have the words. And the screaming. The pure sound of animals, horrified, trapped, tortured, not understanding, not having any chance of escaping… It is the truest sound of agony I have ever heard.

And it went on for a full hour.

My first instinct was, to be honest, to call the police. If this had been ANY other animal, beating it, torturing it, making it scream like this… The police would have come.

When I was little, we lived in an apartment building, and the guy next door would come home from work every day, and beat his dog like crazy. The entire building heard the screams of that animal. My mom reported him, and the police came and took the dog away. He moved soon after, but I remember clearly how my mom told us to stay away from the guy. He knew we had reported him. And if he beats his dog, who is to say if he will hurt a child as well?

I remember being terrified of this guy. Clearly, he had to be evil inside, otherwise, how could he treat a defenceless animal like this?

Listening to the pigs screaming in horror and pain, I remembered this dog. It was a Dalmatian. It was beautiful. And when he was done with it, the white parts of its body was turning blue, that is how bruised it was. But it was a dog. The police cared.

What of these pigs then? Who would care? What on earth could I do?

Everything I am rebels against listening to abuse like this, and not stop it. But how could I have?

These pigs are going to be slaughtered anyway, who cares if their last hours on this earth are spent in agony and fear? Surely not the police. Surely, none of the animal welfare organizations would have jurisdiction. The truth is, as long as it is a pig, you can treat it any way you want.

Nobody cares.

I did consider going over there. Confronting the guys. Creating a scene. Something. Take pictures. Whatever. Anything that might make the abuse stop.

But I didn’t. For one simple reason.

Nothing good would come of it.

It would make this guy hate me, of course, and then what? What might he do to my horses, when I went home? If he doesn’t care about beating up a pig, what would stop him from taking revenge on my horses?

The truth is, if it had only been me, I would have gone over there. I would have called the police and I would have most likely been arrested myself, for trespassing on his property. But at least, my continence would have been clear.

Now, all I can say, is that I took the cowards way out and listened in silence as these poor animals cried for help, and no one came. But at least, my horses don’t have an angry neighbour next to our pasture. I can’t save the world, I can’t change people, but I can do everything in my power to keep my horses safe.

I may be paranoid. But I do live in Denmark, and we have a lot of crazy people. Every year, horses get stabbed, molested, or cut open on their pasture. Yes, my fence is electrified. I really, really want to keep people out…

And I don’t dare piss off the neighbours. Especially not the ones who displays such a deep rooted lack of empathy.

So, I listened. And they screamed. And screamed. The sound of metal, hitting flesh was piercing. Almost as piercing as the screams.

When the transport left, I was almost relieved. At least, their suffering would soon be over. And I wouldn’t have to listen to it anymore.

But the transport will be back. And then what? I’ll listen quietly again, when the next pigs are picked up? When do I reach my breaking point, and… Does it matter?

As long as people keep buying the meet, nothing is ever going to change.

I do not belong in this world, I really don’t. These screams will haunt me forever. I will never be able to let go of how I did nothing. How I am going to do nothing the next time too. How I can’t change the way these pigs are treated, no matter how much I want to.

I don’t want to tell people what to eat. I am not that kind of a vegan. I do not wish to impose my values on others. But common decency and just a hint of humane treatment, is that too much to ask for? Can we truly be an entire society that holds no compassion for those unable to defend themselves?

I’ll stop myself right there, because when the Syrian refugees walked our freeways, we didn’t help them. We still don’t. The police even stopped those who tried.

If we can’t care for our fellow man, how could I expect anybody to care for a pig?

I can’t. I know that. But that doesn’t make the screams any easier to listen to.

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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