Returning home from a nearby town, my journey is punctuated today, as every day, by chicken death trucks heading to a slaughterhouse, a house of slaughter; the ‘processing plant’ as they euphemistically term it in these parts, a foul industrial complex that reveals itself by smell alone, a sprawling bastion of hell cloaked in a sickening miasma.
Like a spider in a complex, grimy web, this hellish factory squats, while the trucks shuttle in, all day every day and long into the night. These articulated lorries, ‘live poultry curtainsiders’, leave dread in their wake, trailing despair with a stench of ammonia.
They are strangely invisible to so many, but in lay-bys on every access route the lorries may be seen parked up and waiting for their turn to join the queue parked side by side in the fear drenched yard of the ‘plant’. In every trailer a barely visible pale cargo, discernible to only the most determined eye, sweet, defenceless infants, their grotesquely overgrown and swollen, 42-day-old bodies crouched on quaking legs, huddled together and frozen into the immobility of fear.
How oblivious we are to the shocking consequence of the selective breeding that is required to meet our demands as consumers of dead flesh, of eggs, of milk, while the desperate, and the young, and the defenceless infants of all other species, pay the price.
The trucks haunt my mind’s eye. I see them even when I close my eyes. Like a viscous wave the wash of their passing assaults me with the stench of terror while I am mesmerised by the few, stray, fluttering baby feathers, falling, swirling in the throbbing diesel wake of the vehicle. These feathers know a freedom that their trembling infant owners have never, and will never know; swirled on a breeze that they have barely felt; glinting in the daylight they will never see except today, on this, their death day, on this convoy from hell, through hell, to hell.
I know what awaits these powerless ones; the shackles, the electrified water bath and the shock that stuns the fortunate, the agony, the scalding tanks, the blades; the gutting and the hacking and the blood. In that bleak place there are no ears willing to hear, as mine do, their despair, their bewilderment, calling lonely for the mothers that they never knew; innocent, helpless and afraid in the place where the blood flows and death awaits.
Knowing that this nightmare is unnecessary, who would willingly support it? Who indeed. Refuse to be part of it. Be vegan.