Saturday, November 7, 2009

San Martin continued…..The Knife

8 am and it is already warm. It shouldnt really be so warm but today is the day and that is that. We will just have to work quickly. I arrive and am greeted warmly by some and with open mistrust by others. “What the hell is he doing here? And why the hell has he got a camera?” They got a point but hey….

The shed has been cleared and the preparation tables set out. I was wrong about the chocolate and bunuelos coming as the blood drained. They are first. Nobody does nothing till they full of chocolate and aniseed doughnuts. There is wine circulating but to my surprise it is taken up only moderately. There is a subdued feel to everything perhaps because of what is about to take place. Perhaps, but I doubt it.

We finish our stuff and go out. Jesus, the main man, has got his crook/garrotte to put over the pigs head so he can be pulled. The thing is a stainless steel tube with a handle at one end and a heavy wire snare at the other. Another of the guys takes a grapple. They go round to the pen accompanied by the farmer and his wife. Next thing I know they are coming back round the corner pushing and dragging an enormous and screaming pig. “Quick, hide” says Toni, my friend who invited me and son of the farmer. Everybody retreats into the shed. “It makes him nervous if he sees lots of people.” So everyone is in the shed but we’re all peering round the corner to get a glimpse. I don’t reckon that 14 people stealing glimses calms the pig down in any way. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if it made it worse. You could hear the other one flipping out in the pen round the corner. It too knew exactly what was going on. Both are fully aware that San Martin is in the house. Toni reads my thoughts and says that the pig that is left alive is so traumatised that it wont eat for days. I cant help thinking that perhaps it might have been nicer to send Survivor Pig on a little holiday that day.

Anyway. I can confirm that pigs scream loudly as they are about to die. I don’t think they sound in anyway human but maybe it was just me that made that bit up anyway.

Animal husbandry by its nature has its brutal moments and seeing the pig dragged to its slaughter table is one of them. The guy with the grapple stepped forward and shoved the hook through the pig’s nose increasing its discomfort and distress. He then started pulling with all his might.

Now there was all commotion with the men getting the pig first alongside its death bed and then onto it. To do this the table is lifted up sideways, the pig brought alongside then pushed and pulled onto the table. The table is then righted again. The pig is then tied down, screaming all the while. It is loud and not madly pleasant.

Jesus offers me the knife to kill it but not knowing really how to do it effectively nor wanting to step on anyones tows, I decline. He smiles. If it was right, I would do it. I am a believer in ‘if you gonna eat it, you gotta be able to kill it.’

Jesus slaps the pig’s neck a few times to be sure of his mark and inserts the knife into its neck. He does not slice, cut nor go from ear to ear. He simply sticks the knife into its jugular at a 45º angle and then removes it leaving a neat 3 inch wound. The blood starts to gush forth into the wide plastic washing tubs the women are sticking under the crimson spurt. Crimson? No, burgundy more like. The women immediately start stirring and squeezing the blood in the bucket. There appears to be some sort of fibrous stuff in their hands. I ask what this is and am told it is the nerves within the blood. I had no idea that one could squeeze blood and get fibres out of it. Maybe I just misheard.

The pig is now dead, its huge head hanging off the edge of the table, its huge tongue hanging out of its mouth. These days I can go for weeks, months without anything happening but now as I am stand looking at the dead pig I am in no doubt that something has just happened. Something I have been the benefactor of many times but never witnessed.


Ben said...

ugh dog sure had a lota...