I live four blocks away from a slaughterhouse.
Almost every day I encounter at least one truck containing live pigs packed into poorly-ventilated metal slots where I can see between 30-40 of them side by side on two levels. This means, most likely, that there are an additional 30-40 pigs that I can’t see, rammed in to maximize the gas dollars it takes to transport these animals from whatever shitty factory farm existance they’ve been forced to tolerate to the roundup for slaughter. The route they take is a backstreet behind King at Strachan, then up to the abattoir which is tucked behind a downtown residential street. You would barely know it was there, if not for the pungent scent that in summer drifts on the breeze toward the public swimming pool and poorly-maintained tennis courts. In the winter the air hangs thick over the block and forces covered mouths and noses to quickly scurry past. The empty transport trucks then take the same route back down Strachan, perfuming the air with the manure and urine of a terrified herd of swine before disappearing down the horizon of the Lakeshore, to be replaced by the next day’s truck and herd.
I have been a vegetarian for longer than I can remember — It started some time in my teens, was reneged upon for a brief period where I continued to eat fish and seafood, then adopted for good. I have been cursed by family and friends at every thanksgiving dinner, mocked by famous French chefs and well-known foodies and hated by steak-loving boyfriends who don’t want to brush their teeth before kissing, so I suppose I look at the fact that I encounter these pigs en route to becoming bacon with more sympathy and horror than the average person does. However, that being said, it still strikes me that THAT IS A LOT OF PIG BEING SLAUGHTERED — a lot of bacon, pork loin, sausage, baloney…whatever.
In the few months after the listeriosis outbreaks in multiple plants I can’t imagine that luncheon meat particularly is enjoying the kinds of sales it once was, so do you think it’s possible that we are continuing the slaughter of these pigs at a rate which is perhaps not playing to the demand? Or do you think that the stores will continue to stock the shelves high with meat products that consumers will buy regardless because they are there? I mean, this is only ONE slaughterhouse. There must be twenty more in the Southern Ontario region in order to supply these meatpacking facilities — so hundreds of pigs are being slaughtered DAILY for the demand for this meat?
It’s sad that we live in a part of the world where animals are treated only as commodities for sale and whose lives are only viewed in terms of dollars and cents — mainly things like how 2/4ths of a cent can be saved by making that animals existance a little more horrible. These are not pigs who just came from a sunny farm like in Charlotte’s Web. Factory farms are cruel and unsanitary places. Its funny how people will make a stink about buying a puppy from a puppy mill, but they’ll eat the Maple Leaf sausages without a thought to the suffering and anxiety and poor heath of the animals they are consuming.
I wonder if many meat-eaters having the same experience seeing those trucks every day would pause to consider this before their next McBaconBullshitBurger.