I looked into the eyes of several terrified pigs on their way to die yesterday. It was like coming face to face with the real-life version of the disturbing images I've seen on the internet. The look of sadness is what caught me first. These pigs were crammed together so thickly that some pigs were struggling just not to be crushed under each other. And their eyes just appeared to be glazed over with misery. Other pigs looked scared. I expect that they were not sure what to expect from a human being close to them as I took footage and talked to them. This is especially true considering how much abuse they have suffered at the hands of humans prior to arriving at that intersection of roads in Smithfield loaded on this truck. Some of the pigs just looked like they had given up. Some were panting and appeared to be overheated from the cramped conditions. Some were foaming at the mouth from throwing up or had excrement on them from other pigs. And it is possible that some of the terror was actually just insanity caused by the terrible conditions that these pigs must suffer through just to survive long enough to be executed.
But, in the end, the worst part is that these pigs are about to die. They are going to drive about a mile more down the road, go inside a building and either have their throats slit, have a bolt shot through their head by underpaid employees or be crammed into a tight space with several other pigs squealing in desperation as the gas fills the chamber to slowly end their life. And this is for the pigs that don't die from the living conditions they must endure during their short lives. From dust and feces infested living spaces, to tight quarters making disease rampant, many pigs don't even live long enough to make it to this final phase of pig hell. And others that do make it will have their lives savagely beat out of them by employees who face little to no consequences unless caught on tape by undercover investigators. And even then, little will be done in a society that places no value on the lives of these creatures.
So, how does one see this and wake up the next day ready to face the world again. I am surrounded by people that think this suffering is not their problem despite the fact that they are the reason that it happens. Smithfield is not doing this for free. There are billions of dollars to be made because people will pay for this to happen to pigs. A few might not think that this is the case. They might lie to themselves and say the ham or bacon they buy comes from happy pigs. But, the only happy pigs I know are at animal sanctuaries or living with families that have rescued them. I am surrounded by billions of humans that look the other way while animals needlessly go through this misery and pain. And just as bad, when I point out what is happening, they say I am radical or extreme. I live in a world were being caring, compassionate, and empathetic is looked down upon as something you should keep to yourself. And loving the result of immense suffering should be displayed proudly in a bumper sticker stating that someone loves bacon. And when you point this bizarre state of affairs out to people proclaiming their love of bacon, it is usually followed by something ignorant like, "But, I just really love bacon." This translate loosely to, 'I love bacon so much that I'm okay with all the suffering another sentient being must suffer through because I'm a selfish asshole." And at least that last part I can agree with.
But, to answer the question, how do we keep living in a world like this? The answer is we must look for hope where we can find it. We must celebrate every small victory. And ultimately, we must remember that someday the last truck filled with pigs will stop at that very intersection that I was standing at yesterday. And it will be the last group of pigs that will ever suffer the fate that these pigs must endure because of those of us refusing to be silent, who kept forcing our bodies out of bed in the morning and continued fighting for the world that we knew all living creatures deserved to live in.
And if you are one of the people buying these animals body parts at the grocery store while telling yourself that it isn't your problem or that you aren't responsible for what is happening, please just repeat this over and over until it sticks. If you don't buy, they don't die. No one is killing pigs for free. Your money is the reason these animals suffer. You know what is happening and you continue to choose to participate in that system. Their fate is in your hands...