In The Stable

The full, pale moon lit up the courtyard so that we didn’t need the flashlights for the time being. There was no dog at the door, and no lights were on. However, there was also no car in the driveway. So, we went straight to the stable door. We paused for a moment, but no sound could be heard, except for the wailing of the pigs in the barn. We carefully opened the large gate, which was not locked, just ajar. We pushed one wing open just enough for us to slip through. A breathtaking stench hit us, and I was afraid of passing out. But I pulled myself together. Now was not the time to be weak.

While I was moving into my observation post, you switched on the flashlight, took the camera and started taking pictures. I could just see what was lit by the flashlight. Mother sows lay there in their iron prisons, which were so narrow that they could just lie in them and the piglets could reach their breasts. In another dungeon stood young pigs, covered all over with wounds, with bitten ears and tails. And everything was full of filth. You could hear her calling all the time, but it meant nothing because you couldn’t understand it. A scream rang through the stable. It was as if a baby, a human baby, had been crying. You shone in the direction the scream came from.

„Could it be that we treat pigs so badly because they are so similar to us, with their pink skin and clear, clever eyes?“ I could not help thinking when I discovered the source of the scream. It was a piglet that had got caught in the slatted floor and was now trying desperately to get free. Then something cracked. Another scream. The leg was broken. I forgot my job and everything else and rushed to the piglet. You wanted to tell me to leave it, it doesn’t make sense. Even if you could have, you knew full well that I would not have listened to you. I was in rescue mode, as have been the case with many who did this for the first time. I tried desperately to get the little leg out. The fact that the little one screamed like a stick with every touch didn’t make things any easier. I finally succeeded. Then I held the wounded, frightened bundle of life in my hands. The next moment the flashlight went out and you were suddenly standing in front of me.

„Headlights“, you just said, whereupon we felt our way to the gate as fast as we could, pushed our way through the gap and started walking. The headlights were still on. It seemed to me as if we were standing in the middle of the display. You drag me into the grass with you so that we continued to seal, which was not so easy with a piglet in hand, but I had it in my head, to save it. The man, presumably the farmer, got out of the car. The headlights were out. He went across the yard and turned on the light. Then he stood there and looked around suspiciously. Had he noticed that the gate to the stable wasn’t closed properly, or was it just instinct that told him something was wrong?

He walked slowly through the meadow from which we were robbing away. At least we had come so far that the glow of the courtyard light no longer took hold of us. A few more meters, then we would have reached the trees. In their protection we could straighten up and run away. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain. It was caused by a noose around my leg. I couldn’t get out. Still, I did the only right thing. I pressed the baby into your hand and implored you to bring it to safety. Then I sat up and pulled the metal sling off my leg.

The police came and took me away. You and the piglet were safe. Me too soon. Constant deprivation of property. Theft. Life built on injustice, lawlessness.

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