by Walter Bond
Hogs have been genetically tampered with for so long that we no longer know many of their natural attributes. We do know that in nature no hog is pink. That is a genetic modification because people like “light colored pork.” We also know that no hog in the wild gets up to 800 pounds which is a ridiculously obese size. Many times when I worked at IBP (Iowa Beef Producers, which is the largest producer of “pork” in the midwest and I am fairly certain in the nation) I would see hogs that were so unnaturally overweight that one or all of their limbs were crushed under the weight. In this essay I am going to go back to that chamber of horrors to better detail the suffering that thinking, feeling and sentient beings we know as pigs endure at the hands of speciesist human oppressors.
Early in the morning it starts, semi-loads of doomed pigs arrive at the slaughterhouse. They are packed in “assholes to elbows” as the drivers so succinctly put it. At least three hogs per truck will be deemed “unfit for human consumption” usually due to huge abscesses on their hind legs. This happens because a few hogs per trailer always get their rears stuck against the air hole grating. When this happens their hindquarters become horrifically blistered from a 30 hour ride in this condition. Imagine sitting on a school bus with no pants and a cheese grater for a seat. Upon arrival an IBP supervisor inspects the hogs. Any hogs that absolutely cannot be “used” get thrown out behind the facility to either die of exposure or to starve to death. It’s not uncommon to see drivers or IBP supervisors stabbing hogs in the hind legs with pocket knives to pop abscesses and continue with business as usual. The hogs then get filtered from the back of the trailers to the pen runs. This is a very temporary holding area where they wait to be killed. On the opposite side from the trailer docking is the “shoot.” All the hogs get forced into this single file death run made of tubular steel. Once inside the shoot they are on a death march, they cannot turn around and because of the steady flow of their doomed brethren being forced in behind them, they cannot stop. Hogs have the cognitive ability of a 5 year old child. They are very smart and very aware what’s happening. They tremor from fear, some are so frightened they lose control of their bodily functions. Others faint and get pushed along their bellies to death. In any event, there is no stopping. Continue reading