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Friday, 10 October 2014

Pablo Neruda: I want to talk with the pigs

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Hessenpark_Waldweide.JPG

Alte Schweinerasse im Hessenpark der Waldweide: photo by Karsten11, 1 May 2009
 
What do pigs make of the dawn?
They lack canticles, but they sustain it, 
With their great pink bodies,
With their hard little hooves
They buoy it up.

Pigs hold up the dawn.

Birds dine on the night.

And in the morning the world is deserted
And the spiders are sleeping, and men
Also, and dogs, and the wind.
The pigs grunt, and dawn breaks.

I want to talk with the pigs.




 The only free pig in Iowa: photo by Philip Capper, 24 March 2005

Qué piensa el cerdo de la aurora?
No cantan pero la sostienen
con sus grandes cuerpos rosados,
con sus pequeñas patas duras.

Los cerdos sostienen la aurora.

Los pájaros se comen la noche.

Y en la mañana está desierto
el mundo: duermen las arañas,
los hombres, los perros, el viento:
los cerdos gruñen, y amanece.

Quiero conversar con los cerdos.


Pablo Neruda (1904-1873): Qué piensa el cerdo de la aurora? from Bestiario (Bestiary), in Estravagario, 1958; English by TC
 
 


 Pigs are believed to be as intelligent as 3-year-old children and at least as intelligent as dogs, capable of learning hand signals corresponding to words, and understanding complex relationships: photo by Mercy for Animals, 25 April 2011


Pigs are social animals and prefer to live in family groups or herds of up to 10 individuals
: photo by Mercy for Animals, 25 April 2011



Pig, SASHA Farm Sanctuary, Manchester, Michigan: photo by Mercy for Animals, 29 May 2010


Pig, SASHA Farm Sanctuary, Manchester, Michigan: photo by Mercy for Animals, 29 May 2010


Pigs, SASHA Farm Sanctuary, Manchester, Michigan: photo by Mercy for Animals, 29 May 2010

Karmic blast from past

I once knew a poet whose custom was to begin the day with a breakfast of bacon. One morning I was visiting him while the bacon strips were sizzling away on the frying pan in the next room. Moments later, the stove exploded.
 
-- Fulano Tal



Farrowing, wide view. The farrowing crates confine the sows so tightly that they can only take one step backwards or forward
: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Farrowing, lame. This injured sow, with the word "lame" sprayed on her back, was left to suffer in a tiny crate
: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 


Farrowing, manure. Manure coats the inside of the farrowing crate: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Injuries, torn face 2. The face of this piglet was nearly torn off:
photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Death Piglet Crate. A dead piglet lies on the floor of a farrowing crate
: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Gassing 1. Rather than being treated by a veterinarian, sick or injured piglets are killed in the gassing chamber: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009
 

Death Pile. In factory farming environments, premature death is all too common
: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Death Bucket. Piles of piglets’ bodies are a visual testament to the cruel and violent nature of pork production: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009


Death Hall. Dead animals litter the factory farm sheds: photo by Mercy for Animals, November 2009
 

Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 16 May 2011



Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]
: photo by Mercy for Animals, 14 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 13 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 13 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 14 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 14 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 16 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 23 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 28 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 1 June 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 2 June 2011



Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]
: photo by Mercy for Animals, 2 June 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 2 June 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 6 June 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 13 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 23 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 27 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 27 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 30 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 30 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 30 May 2011


Untitled [Animal cruelty at Iowa Select Farms]: photo by Mercy for Animals, 13 May 2011

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/Sow_with_piglet.jpg

A domestic sow and her piglet: photo by Scott Bauer, 2007 (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

12 comments:

Nin Andrews said...

OH, makes me happy I'm eating an almond butter sandwich for breakfast, though I hear all the almond trees are drying up in the California drought.

So sad . . . we had pigs on our farm as a kid--before we ate them all. Ugh.

Sandra said...

what I like of Neruda is that ability to chose those tiny or unimportant things for others and make them a poem...I appreciate that magic poem you brought and the pics that if I had not seen are difficult to imagine that they occur...thanks Tom !

donnafleischer said...

The poem opens us to the photographs that open into hell. Must share your brave post. – Donna

TC said...

Many thanks Nin, Sandra, Donna.

The photos taken inside "factory farm" (or "pork production") sites are, as should be apparent, the work of undercover investigators who managed to get themselves hired in these mass-death industries in order to bear witness to the atrocities that currently make possible 99% (ASPCA estimate) of the intake of meat by Americans. It should be no surprise that the industry does not appreciate this evidence making its way into the public light; there are some formidable interests at work here; and in the past few years at least two states (Florida, Iowa) have pending legislation that would make such undercover filming a felony. As difficult as it is to look at these photos, the videos shot by the investigators are even worse. I've elected not to post those, but anyone who's interested can find them.

But I don't think many will be interested,

Eating animals, like driving cars, is something Americans take for granted, as a "God-given right". Maybe, indeed, it is such a right; but if so, that's a terrible indictment of this ghoulish God of the Americans.

In any case, I would be of the party of Neruda in preferring to talk with the pigs. In saying nothing, while harming nothing, and gaining nothing, they tell me more than any American poet has told me, in a very, very long time.

But that's just me. Here we don't have a car and as great a privation as that is, in this form of society, in fact we don't want one. And we don't eat animals. But that's just us. Others may and can and do do as they please.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Ugh. I don't think pigs want to talk to us but I can imagine them getting close enough to spit in our faces.

TC said...

Then again --- and then too. Nobody has to look.

Walmart Cruelty: The Hidden Cost of Walmart's Pork: James Cromwell -- "torture plain and simple"

The first minutes of the Tyson video alone say a lot -- indeed all too much.

The practise of slamming piglets violently against concrete walls so as to beat their brains out has to be seen to be believed. The species that does this is said to be made in the image of its deity. Nathan Runkle founded Mercy for Animals in October 1999 in reaction to an incident in his home town in which a live piglet was slammed on its head against a concrete floor by a high school student during class. Runkle was 15 years old at the time.

The work of MFA has made a difference, if only by causing a certain amount of embarrassment to the animal torture trade. The videos did get around, and this year some of the suppliers are actually talking about phasing out those heinous "gestation crates"... sometime down the line.

TC said...

Vassilis, thanks, hadn't seen that.

Something tells me any self respecting pig would be smart enough not to waste its spit on the likes of us.

Sandra said...

the arrogance of men is infinite and animals do not even spit us...

Wooden Boy said...

As best they can, people should set themselves apart from the meat industry. It's not just the cruelty (though that would be the main reason). It has a huge impact on the environment.

Neruda's call to a communion with our fellow animals is beautiful.

TC said...

"It's not just the cruelty (though that would be the main reason). It has a huge impact on the environment."

Absolutely -- and therein lies yet another eye-opening, dead-sobering, virtually inexhaustible cautionary tale; which will probably not be coming to Amazon Books-by-Drone any day soon.

erin said...

truth a felony? huh. well then... what might there to be said in such a culture but, hurry up, bring on the end ?

TC said...

That was my thought too, pretty nearly.

The mad rush of the dominant species to plunge over the cliff, taking all else with it, is commonly dressed up as simply a salutary haste to protect and perpetuate a desirable life style. (For those in the business of selling it, that is.)