Upton Sinclair on Pigs

23 Apr

The uproar was appalling, perilous to the eardrums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold- that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There was high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then fresh outburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the visitors – the men would look at each other, laughing nervously, and the women would stand with hands clenched, and blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting in their eyes

Neither squeals of hogs or tears of visitors made any difference to them;one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats….they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests- and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing that was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without pretense of apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and memory.

One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical….was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some were black, some were brown, some were spotted, some were old, some were young, some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart’s desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and horrid Fate waited in his pathway…..relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it – it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut its throat and watched him gasp out his life.

And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hog sequels and agonies meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice?

-Upton Sinclair “The Jungle” 1906

https://i1.wp.com/www.uwo.ca/animal/website/AC/Content/images/cute%20pig.JPG

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