It was a long way from the city center to the outskirts and across the fields until they finally stood in front of the said stable. The moon was shining brightly so they could see every detail. They paused for a few moments. Then Rebekka headed straight for the entrance. Carefully she reached for the handle, pushed it down and, to her great surprise, found the door unlocked. Then she waved to Paul, who had stopped in the field and looked as if he did not want to move a step forward. Rebekah was angry. „Who doesn’t dare to come here!“, she thought as she walked over to Paul, roughly grabbed his arm and pulled him behind her. „I don’t dare,“ she growled as she opened the door.
Immediately a bestial stench hit them. Her eyes started to water and Rebekka’s stomach rebelled. „How could you stand it in there?“, it shot through her head, „Weren’t the noses of pigs much more sensitive than hers, even more so than those of dogs?“, she tried to remember what she was doing in biology class learned about pigs. “Intelligent, social, keen to move around,” she remembered promptly when they entered the stable. Triumphantly she turned to Paul: „You see, I dare!“. Only then did she turn to the inside of the stable and thought she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Pigs lay in manure-smeared bays that had just enough space to lie down. There wasn’t an inch of space in between. Her skin was covered with wounds. Many of them had blood-caked tails and ears. There were large tumors on the joints. When the first pigs noticed the intruders, they jumped up and started screaming. They wanted to run, whether away or towards her, it wasn’t clear because they could only move a few centimeters before they stumbled over the next pig. Some, Rebekka realized on closer inspection, were so badly injured that they could not even get up. They let everything else happen, indifferently. She illuminated bay after bay with her flashlight, but the picture was the same everywhere. When she said it couldn’t get any worse, she discovered a pig lying on the ground, probably not quite dead, because it was still breathing shallowly, but it was still being eaten by its conspecifics. „Eaten alive,“ she thought. Her knees gave way so that she collapsed on the spot as hot tears ran down her face that did not seem to dry up, tears of anger and despair at the knowledge of what pain was done to beings in the midst of an enlightened one humane abusive society. Cooped up, abandoned, exploited, that was the reality, while happy piglets ran across the screen on TV. Animal welfare, yes that was capitalized in Austria, but not lived.
Rebekka didn’t know how long she had lain there, indulging in misery and self-pity. At some point she felt grabbed by the arms and legs and carried out. Her tears had run dry, meanwhile. Without resistance, she let it happen that she was put in a car and taken away. From the uniforms she could tell that they were police officers. At the station, she was put on a chair and bombarded with questions, but she couldn’t utter a word, not a single one. As much as the law enforcement officers pressed her, she didn’t open her mouth. She was finally put out on the street. It was already getting light. Only then did she realize that she had been arrested, but not Paul. “He ran away,” thought Rebekah, but she didn’t care. All she wanted was to go home and pull the covers over her head as if that would get rid of the images, the smells and the noises. But it didn’t work. What one has seen once cannot be made unseen. It is impossible to undo a knowledge once it has been made. And suddenly she realized why most people did not strive for knowledge, but rather preferred to pause in front of the images that were shown to them, like the people in Plato’s allegory of the cave. They didn’t want to know because it would have forced them to question a lot. And finally, it was there, the answer, she had to say it, no, scream out so that it could be heard.
The pigs suffer
in narrow stables,
on hard concrete floor.
They have sores all over their body.
They eat each other.
You can hardly breathe.
They vegetate there.
You don’t care.
You want your cheap schnitzel.
How can you be so empty?
And finally let them live!
Millions of sentient animals suffer
for your enjoyment.
How can you care so less?
How can you pretend
as if nothing was
just go on living your life,
while they die?
But you don’t just treat the pigs that way.
Chicks are shredded.
Calves separated from their mothers.
You send people to certain death,
or put them in social isolation,
because they are different.
You are not human
but insensitive and mindless psychopaths.
You piss me off!
You are disgusted!
And her voice echoed through the streets as people turned away in shame. Words could be forgotten. Don’t look at pictures she showed. You don’t want the knowledge that you can’t go back to. Because only in this way can you simply go on living your life, unconsciously and without reflection. One can only take care of oneself and one’s own insignificant little life. But Rebekah didn’t stop raising her voice, letting it ring across the squares, for she had opened her eyes and recognized. And with your eyes open, finally your eyes open, it’s hard not to see.