Countdown to slaughter

On my calendar, on the square for Feb. 28, it says simply “Kill Pig.”

Nine months ago, I held a two-day-old piglet in my hands. She was about the size of a chihuahua. The pig was clean, warm and soft. The pig struggled a little because I wasn’t her mother, and her hooves, not yet worn smooth, were sharp against my bare forearms.

Still, before this month is over, I will have killed her.

When I called to arrange the date, I had expected to do some convincing. I was surprised how unfazed he was when I called to set the date and said I wanted to shoot and stick the beast myself. To him, of course, this is the way of the world: animals become meat just as blossoms become fruit. To the man standing next to me when I do just that, it will be another day at work.

Still, butchers distance themselves from their work. They have their own euphemisms: animals, for example, aren’t slaughtered, they’re harvested. They joke about the blood and guts.

On the one hand I hope I can distance myself in the same way. On the other, I hope I feel the full impact of my intended action.