read this post below before watching video. thanks, and enjoy.
this is tommy, our formerly injured hog, relaxing on his last night at pork chop hill. today we slaughtered him. for those who don’t know, tommy broke one of his legs a few months back and we nursed him back to health. for over two weeks he lay in the dirt, near death, and we delivered food and water to the sideways wounded soldier twice a day—dumping buckets of water down his back to ease the summer sun. he has since regained full health, and lived a supremely happy life. (catch up tommy’s injury here-and type “tommy” into search field to find some more posts)
this being the first injured animal i ever dealt with, tommy taught me a lot. a lot not only about how to handle injuries—not easy with an immobile three hundred pound beast—but a lot about myself. the emotions involved with helping a dying creature regain life are deep and personal.
but, today was the day, and it was a day i knew was inevitable. tommy’s one purpose on pork chop hill was to be raised for meat—and one day he would have to be killed. one of the amazing things about a pig’s advanced intelligence is that they are capable of forming relationships with other animals—pigs, people, and dogs for example. so in that sense, tommy was my friend, and loading him for slaughter was not an easy task.
he knew something was up, and resisted the load. i followed him around, using slop to keep his attention, and even did the unthinkable: human in the wallow.
ultimately, local hero, farm owner, and real estate tycoon jon ivy helped me guide him in for a touchdown.once he was in the trailer he laid down, and accepted his fate. it was over now, and he knew it. after a thirty minute commute he quietly walked out onto the slaughter house’s holding pen, and again laid down. i placed my hand on his head, made peace with tommy, myself and g-d, and said goodbye to a friend.
here’s a breakdown of the slaughter video. the hog is shot in the head with a rifle, instantly dropping him to the concrete floor. this is an instant death, although his heart will continue to pump and his muscles will continue to convulse for quite some time (while awaiting tommy’s slaughter i watched a headless, footless, and skinless pig hanging on meat hooks with a twitching quad muscle).
the butcher skillfully skins the animal, starting with the hind legs, and ultimately working down to the nose. the throat is slit, bleeding the animal out, although as the butcher makes his way down the body the amount of blood present increases (as it ultimately flows out the bottom end with gravity).
the hog is weighed—tommy tipped the scales at three hundred and twenty five pounds—and slid around the corner to the meat locker. tommy will hang in the cooler for three days, as enzymes begin to break down and tenderize the meat. on thursday he will be divided into familiar cuts, shrink wrapped, and sent home.
seeing this whole process for the first time actually made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. once tommy was shot, his involuntary convulsions in no way made me feel “oh god. he’s in pain. he’s trying to get up!”
the convulsions were so rhythmic, they were instantly recognized as involuntary death throws. just to clarify, the noises and grunts throughout the clip are actually a cow outside, not the hog.
when i came home i sat down at my computer and started looking through some old college pictures. two of my best friends passed away in oh four, and i suddenly had the urge to flip through all my old pictures of them. it wasn’t till an hour later that i realized losing tommy is what inspired my college reminiscing.
so yea, i guess you could say i was affected.