ethel’s words

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Breakfast is served. The pig grew up eating rotten food, including meat, sloshing around in its own filth, breathing foul and smothering air, living without exercise, suffering night and day, waiting for crucifying death, like a prisoner being tortured for perceived sins.

The sow grows up, is offered to a boar never seen before, as if pigs are not meant to have mating rituals. She bears her litter and feeds them at her belly--twelve or thirteen sometimes. She has been bred to breed. The babies are taken away when survival is assured; some few may be sold as sucklings, a complete (except eviscerated) body to be displayed as the centerpiece of a feast, with head intact and an apple in the mouth.

The slaughter of pigs is worse to witness than the bellowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep; the pigs’ screams are like the terror-screams of human children. They all cry out against the perceived horror; all but the few at the front of the line hear the raging against death, and they intuit that that is their destination.

The carcasses are freighted away--away from the stench, from the soiled river, from the filth-saturated Earth.

Cleaned and carved, smoked or cured, or still oozing blood, the pig arrives at the kitchen in sparkling white styrofoam. Its history has been obliterated, but in its flesh is a record of torture and horror.

Ethel C. Hale