Stoic Decay

pictures / projects by gElm / Lem de Grosnpreg

Lapse of Logic

A Dog’s Life: Six weeks after being born he is gently weaned from his mother.

A Pig’s Life: Around 15 days after being born he is put in an overcrowded concrete pen.

A Dog’s Life: If he is a runt then some caring person will point to “that poor little one,” and he will be adopted into a loving home.

A Pig’s Life: If he is a runt then he will be lifted by his back legs, swung up into the air and then down, dashing his head against the concrete floor until he is dead.

A Dog’s Life: He is taken to the vet and neutered while heavily sedated, and is treated as well as any human undergoing a surgical operation.

A Pig’s Life: He is castrated, his tail is cut off, the tips of his teeth are broken off with pliers, and part of his ear is ripped off to aid in identification. All of this is done without pain killers.

A Dog’s Life: If he gets a patch of dry skin on the back of his paw he is taken to the vet and thoroughly examined. Then his owner buys some costly medicine and spends the next few weeks applying it to the afflicted area.

A Pig’s Life: If he is seriously injured; suffers from substantial open wounds, paralysis, or running sores and tumors, he will be ignored and left to linger, in the hope that he might possibly stay alive long enough to be dragged aboard the truck to the slaughterhouse.

A Dog’s Life: He spends the next 10 to 15 years living a life that is in many respects better than the lives led by the human inhabitants of many 3rd world countries.

A Pig’s Life: He spends the next 6 months in the same overcrowded concrete pen where, with the help of injected antibiotics and hormones, he bloats up to a weight of 250 pounds.

A Dog’s Life: He is sick and old. He is carried to the car by the family that loves him. During the drive the children he ran with pet him and cry.

A Pig’s Life: He is packed into a trailer with so many other pigs (many of which are already seriously ill) that at least a few will die before they reach their destination, succumbing to prior injuries or sickness or suffocation.

A Dog’s Life: At the vet he is taken to a small room with his entire family following. Each family member in turn says goodbye. A veterinarian enters and gives him a shot which puts him to sleep. His family surround him as he dies. He can hear them, he can feel their touch, as he drifts away.

A Pig’s Life: At the slaughterhouse he is hung upside down by his back legs, where by law he is supposed to be “stunned” and rendered unconscious. But as there is little enforcement the law is often ignored. When it is not ignored, the method of stunning is very imprecise. As a result the odds are better than even that he will be fully conscious, kicking and struggling, when a slaughterhouse worker sticks a knife in his neck.

A Dog’s Life: His body is taken away and cremated. A few days later his family receives his ashes.

A Pig’s Life: Because time is money, instead of waiting until he has fully bled to death, he will be delivered to the scalding tank (the next stop on the slaughterhouse assembly line which will soften his skin and remove his hair) and be dumped inside while still fully conscious, boiled alive.

A Dog’s Life: His family takes his ashes to a pet cemetery. A funeral service is held and his ashes are interred.

A Pig’s Life: He ends up as sausages and bacon on someone’s plate. Someone who neither cares how he lived nor how he died, but rather how good he will taste on their gluttonous tongue.

What is the difference between a dog and a pig, that one is pampered, while the other endures six months of torture from the moment it is born till the moment it dies? Yes, I know, not all dogs are treated well either (hundreds of thousands are euthanized at shelters each year), and who knows how many are abused and neglected. But if you walked up to someone and said: I beat my dog and then I ate it. They would look at you as if you were a monster (as you would be). If you walked up to that same person and said: I love bacon. They would probably say: So do I! And sausages too!

What logical argument can be put forth as to why a dog’s life is worth so much more than a pig’s? Usually no argument is given at all, because, well, everyone knows a pig is food and a dog is not (though in some places around the world a dog is both food and pet). One argument I have heard often is: Pigs are stupid - which is not true, pigs are at least as smart as dogs and have been found to be easier to train. And if we started killing things for being stupid, then at least half the politicians in the world would be in grave danger (and if we started killing things for being corrupt then there wouldn’t be any politicians left at all).

The words and pictures on this page will perhaps seem overblown and strident to you, unless you have seen with your own eyes how farm animals - not just pigs - are treated. If you have seen this video then you will understand my anger. When you hear the pig hung by its back legs squealing as its neck is punctured with a knife, as you listen to it continue to squeal in agony as its blood gushes forth, you know it is a sound you will never forget. But then if you eat meat you won’t watch the video, you probably aren’t even reading this now, you probably didn’t get past the second sentence at the top of this page. That is why I hate you, why I call you a coward, call you the pus that squirts from a cold sore, call you a runny liquid turd. Why I wish a plague of locusts on your house, wish for cancerous tumors to cover your eyes, wish for wild packs of dogs to feast on your entrails. That is what hatred does to a person, it makes you say foolish things, and it does not in the end make you feel any better. You have made a fool of me. That is what hatred does. It makes you bitter and fills you with bile. So if you eat meat - go fuck yourself, go stick a rusty knife in your ear, go drink a bottle of bleach. I have become a cliche. I know these words are worthless. But I am like a man who curses the chair leg upon which he stubbed his toe, he knows it does no good but he still screams and shakes his fist at the object which has caused him pain.

You might ask: How have I caused you pain, how have I injured you? To which I would reply: You have robbed me of hope, you have shown me that people are indifferent to pain and cruelty, and will ignore anything that threatens to take something from them that they enjoy - even something as insignificant as a pleasant taste on their tongue.

I did not create the words and pictures on this page to try to change your mind, that is something I have learned is nearly impossible. I created this to explain to you the reason why I hate you. Yes, I know, hatred is not a good thing. Hatred eventually destroys all it touches, it will eventually destroy me. I have tried to let it go, tried to pull myself free of it, but hatred is an amazingly obstinate emotion. It does not know reason and it is not easily washed away. So if you eat meat - May ticks with Lyme disease attach themselves to your genitals, may a braying wild donkey crush your skull with its hooves, may a pigeon drop shit on your car every morning.

No doubt you are saying: “Get off your high horse, feller; do you think you’re better than me, do you?” But I don’t think I am better than you, maybe I am a whole lot worse, who knows. Does the man who tells another man he is standing on a dog’s foot feel superior to the man that is standing on a dog’s foot. No, he just wants that man to get the fuck off the dog’s foot because he can see the dog is in pain.

The odd thing is if you (the fictional meat-eater who is not reading this) and I met we would probably get along fairly well, as long as we kept our conversation on the level of: What nice weather we’re having. But then at some point you would pull a Slim Jim out of your pocket and I would see that poor little runt of a piglet having its brains dashed out on a filthy concrete floor, and brutal tendrils of anger and hatred would snake their way through my mind. Knowing it would do no good, I would say nothing. I would walk away, trying to keep saliva and bile from spilling from my mouth like a maddened dog. Perhaps that is exaggerated. Who fucking cares.

Kurt Vonnegut died a few days ago. He is one of my favorite authors and was a very wise man. I was working on this page when he died and I found myself wondering if he was a vegetarian or not. I do not think he was. I searched the internet and could find nothing that indicated he was. I couldn’t remember him ever mentioning anything about vegetarianism in his books, but maybe my memory is failing me. If a wise man like Vonnegut, who almost always looked at things from new and unique angles and then said: “Hey, that’s not right!” - if he never once questioned how the food he ate got to his plate, then what hope is there.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is right and correct for animals to endure horrific torture so that humans can eat something that tastes good. But how can that be. Pain is pain and cruelty is cruelty, no matter how it is ignored or rationalized away. Again - if you eat meat - May tiny baby squirrels with sharp teeth and claws nest in your pubic hair, may a sixteen-ton weight drop from the sky upon your head, may you be forced to listen to Pat Robertson for eternity.

What hope is there for humanity if it can treat helpless creatures, creatures over which it holds total and absolute power, in such an inhumane manner, and then be coldly indifferent to their suffering.

QUESTION: What hope is there for humanity? ANSWER: There is none.

I’ll end with a quote (because nothing caps a rambling diatribe better that an obscure quote) by Lem de Grosnpreg, a virtually unknown nineteenth century painter of imaginary landscapes who is only remembered (which he rarely is) for a brief (perhaps apocryphal) acquaintance with Herman Melville. The quote is actually Melville quoting de Grosnpreg, and is from a letter Melville wrote, a letter most Melville scholars claim is an outright forgery, though the motive given for the forgery - that a fan of de Grosnpreg’s sought to immortalize him by linking him to a great man - seems flimsy given the fact that Melville’s reputation as a writer was at that time quite low.

I can’t find the book that contains the full letter so I’ll try to give a general idea of the contents from memory. The quote itself I remember quite well, the rest of the letter less so. It begins with Melville telling how he just read in the morning paper that de Grosnpreg shot himself in the head the evening before, only hours after Melville had visited him - Melville notes the visit occurred in the late afternoon - they discussed various things, including a painting de Grosnpreg was working on - how de Grosnpreg grew pensive as the afternoon wore on, going to the window and staring out - then Melville describes what de Grosnpreg was looking at in great detail: the city street, a park, and the Hudson River glowing richly under a dark sun low on the horizon. And this is the point at which he quotes de Grosnpreg. And so here is the point where I quote Melville quoting de Grosnpreg:

“The world is so very beautiful,” he said, staring moodily out the window. “It is too bad people have to enter the frame and ruin the view.”

NOTE: Lem de Grosnpreg and the above Melville anecdote are as fictional as human compassion.