Death Of A Pig
By Patrick Campbell
An Animal Rights Poem from All-Creatures.org

Death Of A Pig
By Patrick Campbell

Don't be angry, Bess, he says,
as to an old friend.
Its the way of the world,
though not the way Id choose.

He's made the journey for her sake,
but wishes hed never caught the sight
of Bess between the trailer's slats,
so tightly pressed she has to rest
her head upon another's back
and search for air above the stench.
How distant now the tranquil farm
where never did he cause her harm.

Now at the place where lives are taken,
those eyes that once regarded him
with something passing for affection
are fixed upon his, trusting still,
yet anguished by this strange new turn.
He'd save her surely, even now,
from the hell she hears and smells,
screaming death beyond the walls.

In a final show of will,
she holds her ground just yards before
the chamber where the hot gas stuns.
(they haven't coined a word for this,
for only men are mourned and missed).
A stick corrects the wayward pig
for slowing down the pace of death,
for numbers count in take-home pay.

Before, the children stroked her back,
delighted by the playful Bess.
But could those children ever guess
that even 'ere the year was out,
shed perish in the cruelest way
as her babies had before
in the infancy of life,
throats cut with a kitchen knife?

Hes done his best. He gave her pasture,
(hed seen the way the factories do it)
But he is heir to ancient ways
upheld by scripture and the law,
which help sustain the myth that God
speaks only to the human strain
of ape, and not to soulless beasts.
So why not kill them as we please?

And so the butchering of Bess
Into pieces for our pleasure
doesnt shock or prick the conscience,
as long as its sights and sounds remain
unseen, unheard, and thus unjudged.
As they do, within closed doors,
for who would eat a pig again
having witnessed its wretched end?

Do we really think that Bess
will feel the pain and horror less
than human beings so despatched?
A stain is left on humankind
that though we rue a thousand years
will never quite be washed away.
Better by far shed never drawn breath
than be born in the shadow of cold-blooded death.


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