After lying awake for the past hour pondering a disturbing event that occurred in the field adjacent to our yard (and partly from a nagging pain from a surgical procedure that I had Thursday. Not to worry, nothing serious.) I decided that my blog was the appropriate place to write about something upsetting that ended up making me very proud of Rich.
I had donned my jammies and robe shortly after dinner because of the minor discomfort I was feeling so soon after surgery when I heard a gunshot nearby, followed by a squealing so loud and continuous that I had to get up and check the source. I looked out of the north and east windows in the living room and saw nothing. Our alpacas were screeching their warnings and all facing toward the west as they do when there is something going on that they don't like. This prompted me to step out on the front porch where I witnessed a group of three young men standing around the edge of the field chatting.
I followed their gaze about 10 feet or so into the field where I saw a large hog on its side writhing and squealing in pain. One of the young men stood in the group holding his rifle at rest by his side. It was clear that a hog had escaped from the local pig farm about a quarter of a mile down the road and across the corner and their solution had been to kill it. Only it wasn't dead. It was suffering while these young men looked on and a young lady sat in the truck waiting.
As I stood there on the front porch, my husband, Rich, strode across the lawn with the meanest scowl on his face. If you know Rich, you know that he is a kind and gentle man who rarely gets angry, but he was Angry. He marched up to the group of boys and said, steadily, "Aren't you going to finish it off and put it out of its misery?"
To which the youth with the rifle replied, callously, "It will eventually bleed out."
Standing his ground, Rich asked, "Don't you have another bullet in that thing?"
"Yeah," the kid replied dully.
"Well use it!" Rich stood there glaring into the young man's face. The kid glared back for a fraction of a second until realizing that Rich meant what he said before he plodded back out to the hog muttering obscenities under his breath, and put a second bullet through his head, finally killing it.
The young men got into their noisy truck and sped off back down the road to the hog farm. A short while later they drove the noisy truck back, gunning the engine as they passed our house. This is the same truck that often passes by way too fast in an attempt to break some sort of speed record from the stop sign on the corner on their way to the hog farm. Rich came into the house to calm down.
A short while later the young girl who lives at the hog farm came down in a front-end-loading tractor to collect the dead hog and take it to (I assume) the lime pit that every hog farm is required to have in order to dispose of hogs that die in their care. Those young men didn't even have the guts to stay and clean up.
Now we have grandchildren about the same age as those young men so I know better than to paint "all" young people with the same brush. And I know that those piglets that are shipped in to the farm down the road on a regular basis and shipped out as full grown hogs, are not pets but are destined to become the bacon that I occasionally enjoy on my breakfast table. But I also know that these animals deserve to be treated and killed humanely when it is necessary to do so, and what I witnessed out in that field was anything but humane. It was very disturbing to watch three young men standing around watching that hog suffer needlessly when they had the power to end that suffering.
Maybe some of my readers will have a different take on this incident. I don't know and don't much care. But I do know that I was never more proud of my husband when he, steely eyed, stared down that rifle toting young man and told him in no uncertain terms to do the right thing.