Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pig's Gone

Well, this morning was the morning. Nearly nine months to the day since Marco found a little 12 pounder running in the road and came home with a beautiful little pig asking: "Dad, do you know how hard it is to catch a pig that's running around in the street?" we put her down. I didn't want to, but she'd grown to over 300 lbs and I'm leaving town for Peru on Monday and my kids, god bless them, would not do what I have done for the last nine months. And they didn't do it for January and half of February while I was in Peru, so I know they wouldn't do it now. What I did was feed her half a head of celery, half a large cabbage, two or three apples, a few bananas, some oranges, a full loaf of bread, half a pot of rice, a pound or two of carrots, and all the ends of whatever we ate: Broccoli, spinach, cheese, leftover toast, corn cobs, tomato ends or whole tomatoes when they went two scoops, about 10 pounds, of corn, daily.
Unfortunately, today was her day. My friend Lynn came over. He brought his .22 pistol. We had garbage bags for her entrails, a hunting knife...and lots of prayers that it would be painless.
Lynn smoked a cigar; I smoked a cigarette. We fed the pig good food, then branches of her favorite tree. And then Lynn took out his .22 and shot her between the eyes. She dropped like a cayman in the Amazon when you hit them right with a shotgun. Straight down.
"Want to do it?" he asked.
No, I didn't but I took the knife and cut her throat from ear to ear to bleed her. If you don't do that while the animal's heart is pumping you can ruin the meat.
SHe flopped for a few seconds till I got the throat cut. SHe stopped moving except for involuntary muscle movements in her legs.
Blood was coming out. We put her on an angle and I gut her from neck to tail. I didn't even nick the intestines, so there was no smell at all.
I turned the knife over to Lynn when I was getting frustrated and knew I was about to cut the intestines to get them out.
Lynn was marvelous: With Italo's help we got her cleaned and all her insides into a black garbage bag, then hauled her 300 Lb carcass to my truck, then brought it to the processing place.
They tell us we'll get 120 pounds of meat off her.
I know we did the right thing since I could not find anyone nearby who wanted her as a pet. She died pretty painlessly. I hope I die as painlessly, with a bullet through my head that drops me.
It was still very viceral, very in the moment, with steam coming out of the stomach cavity as I cut it open....
I think the pig will taste good. She was fed good food with lots of love. Killing her was not fun, not joyeus, not satisfying. I wish god set up a different system.
But today it was clean.
I hope whomever finally kills me is as clean.
Send me on to the next life.
Then go grab 120 lbs of bacon, ribs, roasts and sausage.
I guess that's the way to go.


Gritter said...

Good for you. That is not an easy task especially since you have been keeping the pig for all this time. And, I must agree, I wish there were a different system - hurts my feelings to kill an animal as well. I won't kill one if I am not going to eat it but it gets harder and harder to do every year.

The Grudge said...

Thanks for the story Peter. I would hope to go quick and painless too. Hope the pig was good.

phoenix said...

Jeez! you're right there staring life and death in the face. You're amazing Peter G.

Michael P said...

As a vegetarian, I agree -- there was little you could do but what you did. A nice space of life, well fed, love, and a clean exit. Your heart is full of love Peter. If I could nourish that kind of love after my death, then take a couple of ribs from me, as well.