Extra > A Pig’s Eye View

Posted on October 14, 2013


Eloise Mahoney writes about life and death in an abattoir from a pig's perspective

I wake up, surrounded by hundreds of inmates. We’re all the same, all insignificant. My eyes remain closed, the sights around me are too horrible to behold. I stand in my own excretion, trapped in a box. No way out.

Most of us were born here, but a few were shipped in. We hear stories of how their friends died on their way here. Some
of them talk about beautiful things: black starry skies and clear blue days, the warm sun beating down on their back as they
shovel down a feast.

I give up thoughts of a better life, and remain in my own torturous existence. One day I may get away from here, as my
parents did, as their parents did before them. They left a while ago now; I haven’t seen them since. I’m comforted by the
thought of seeing them again, although I don’t know where or when.

Ah! It looks like the stone-faced prison guards are taking some of the others away now:

“Say hello to my parents for me!” I shout, excited for them, finally released, finally free. I wake up Paul, my cellmate.
“They took another lot of them, we could be leaving soon!” I whisper almost ecstatic.
“Leave me alone.”
“But Paul! I think it’ll be us next! We’re getting out of here!”

He started snoring within seconds; I looked around and the excitement drained from my system. I can’t wait to be out of this place; the smell, what I see, it makes me sick; but after years of sickness, the constant retching, it becomes familiar, normal.

I give up thoughts of a better life, and remain in my own torturous existence. One day I may get away from here, as my parents did, as their parents did before them.

I often fidget, not wanting to rise, even for food. I feel weak. The doors open at the far end the building to reveal guards
bringing in our daily slop. I don’t know what’s in this mixture, but right now I don’t care – if I don’t eat it I will starve.
The doors at the end of the room reopen. Within seconds my cage opens in front of me. I look up just as the realisation hits home. We’re free! We’re going!

“Paul, Paul! Wake up, wake up, it’s our turn!” I practically scream at him, but he doesn’t react. When the guards arrive they
prod him with a stick, and roll him over.

He doesn’t wake. He’s not breathing.

“No, he can’t have died! It’s our turn;wake up! We’ve been waiting so long. Come on!”

The guards calm me down by hitting me with a pole; I get the message. Walking away, I consider my friend. He must have just given up, I feel his pain, but if he’d only hung on a little longer.

The gateway to my freedom gets more real with every step, I feel overwhelmed as I move towards the door. But they
open to reveal something unexpected. There’s another room. The main guard grabs my ear, hurting me. I don’t resist. I am taken to a table in the middle of the room and fastened to it. From another door, come other men in white coats. They were wearing gloves; I started to panic. Tools are brought in and laid onto a table next to me, huge sharp knives lay shining, menacing, promising pain, reflecting my fear.There’s a sharp agony in my belly…

…I’m free.



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