Friday, January 19, 2007

El Rastro

This is not a nice topic, but since it is effecting us so greatly, I thought I would talk about it.

El Rastro means slaughterhouse. The one on the island is located on our road, only 3 houses down, on the corner. We had concerns about it when we bought this place. We checked around because we were worried about the smells that might come from there....not to mention whatever else a slaughterhouse gets up to. All of our neighbors assured us that it had never been a problem and, in fact, they no longer kept animals in the walled in compound surrounding it. That is one nice thing. You can't see into it because of the high cement walls. So we bought and moved in.

Over time we discovered that our neighbors were correct. We have never noticed any smell coming from there and about the only thing they slaughter is pigs. Lots of pigs. They bring them in by the truckload on the car ferry every other day. Sometimes as many as 50 at a time. I feel so sorry for them in the back of the open trucks but that is another story. (not too sorry though because I sure do love my pork chops and bacon!)

The only thing we have noticed, when it is particularly still around here, is the occassional squeal coming from that direction. Everytime I hear it, I say to B, "I hear your girlfriend calling you!" He is so tired of that joke that I don't even bother anymore. Now I only say to it company when it happens! They are throughly grossed out, which is my goal.

So, starting just before Christmas, we noticed a larger than normal amount of pigs being delivered. Holidays I guess. But something else also. The sound coming from there was horrible. I cannot even begin to explain it. Pigs squealing at the top of their lungs in pure terror and most probably pain. Something very different was going on behind those high walls. Something, we guessed, rather cruel. It went on for days and was really bad.

We do not get involved in politics down here (against the law anyway) nor do we try to interfere in lifestyles. Heck, you know what I mean. Live and let live. But this was awful. We supposed that maybe their had been a change of management and/or new crews over there. Something was very different. Something inhumane had to be going on for those pigs to be squealing like that. We had just decided that we were going to ask our friend, who works in city administration, if she knew anything about it or if there had been any complaints. Thankfully, we never had to do it.

There was an article in the paper yesterday that the slaughterhouse has been shut down. Evidently there had been so many complaints since Christmas from our Mexican neighbors that a surprise visit had been done. They have now been closed due to unsanitary slaughtering conditions and INHUMANE slaughtering techniques. They have 30 days to clean the place up and prove that they have trained staff to humanely conduct business or they are closed permanently.

I am so glad that our neighbors complained. Three cheers for them for also being concerned. Although really, I don't think they complained because they were worried about the inhumane treatment. I think, rather, they just didn't like the noise. It made your hair stand up.

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