Toys are us – Patrick Hari

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Patrick Hari — TOYS ARE US
10th December — 4th February 2012
Opening Friday, 9th December 2011, 6 – 8 pm

Practised for the pan

Anna Sutter

The green meadows around the house are lush and offer the pigs a comfortable living space throughout the year. Our small group of countryside pigs lives outside under open skies all year long. This suits their nature. They like to come close to our house. Personally I enjoy the presence of the pigs, for me they are more than intelligent animals. They are marvellously sensitive and humorous creatures.

The goats are also nice, cows and chickens too. I like them all but the pigs are unique to me. It is a gloomy event when I have to bring a few goats to the butcher. I load them onto the trailer and drive the 15 minutes to the butcher’s slaughterhouse. Fifteen uncomfortable minutes, but when it’s done it’s done.

Bringing pigs to a butcher is unbearable because the animals sense everything, know everything, it seems to me. They are stressed ultra fast, become wild and release stress hormones. They can smell their death from far away. All this transfuses into the meat, its consistency and taste.

Butchering is necessary, I understand that. But the method of the process is crucial: at this point I want to do anything humanly possible so my pigs find a somewhat dignified end.

I have developed my own method: I practice loading the animals into the trailer, because this is a critical moment. I put the trailer in the green meadow and lay out some pieces of food for my piggies. This way they learn to get into the trailer in a playful manner. Later I park the car with the trailer on the lawn. Then I let the motor run. By this point the pigs know that it is normal when a car with a trailer is standing on the grass.

I begin to drive without closing the trailer. It’s all a game. Later I close the vehicle and drive a few turns down the countryside road and back up again. The animals even squeal with fun and everything becomes familiar to them. I drive on a bit further. And further. They need to experience a quarter of an hour.Every Autumn I have two, three pigs, whose last fifteen minutes of life I try to make as pleasant as possible. My driving practice with the pigs is sneered at. But my clientele, which I choose carefully, witness the superior quality of the travel-trained pork. I don’t feel bad.

Anna Sutter lives and works in South Tyrol.

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