Its one of those beautiful early autumn mornings in Buxton. The sky is that lovely washed out blue that we get at this time of year, littered with clouds, some fluffy white and some tinged with a browny-grey underneath.
The leaves on the trees are turning brown and orange, and as the wind picks up they fall to the ground leaving the branches bare and skeletal.
As I write this in my back room, the dogs wakened by the postman’s arrival at the front gate, have leapt from their shallow slumbers and are throwing themselves at the window, barking, growling and snarling. Soon they are sleeping again though. Their job of repulsing the postman done for another day.
They have a good life on the whole. They are warm and well fed, and in the case of the Gabster, the dog I rescued from Romania, too well fed. They get walked three times a day, even when they don’t want to. There are a comfy sofa and several cosy beds for them to lie on.
In return, they give affection and the occasional flash of intelligence. They will do a few simple tricks for me, run to greet me when I return from work or a trip to the supermarket, comfort me when I am sad and of course alert me to visitors real or imagined.
Twenty-five miles away outside a bleak long low narrow building an articulated lorry has pulled up. It is full of six-month-old factory farmed pigs, who will get a brief taste of the outside world before they are bullied and beaten into the slaughterhouse. While they wait people try and comfort them through the slats on the side of the container. Pigs are intelligent, social animals. They are on a par with dogs and some research suggests that they have a higher level of intelligence that our canine friends.
One of the pigs nuzzles a girls fingers, interested and intrigued by this strange sensation. But they all have fear in their eyes. They can smell death better than us, and though they cannot know their fate, they have a sense of the horror of what is to come.
The slaughter process is brutal and inhumane. Those that are not screaming in pain from the cut of the knife, are squealing and crying in fear as a few feet away from them, their littermates are hosted by their back legs, throats cut, to bleed out before being disembowelled. Then jointed and sliced, packed and wrapped in plastic to sit briefly on supermarket shelves.
The dogs are peacefully snoring, occasionally twitching as they chase in a dream. The pigs will be screaming in fear and panic, their brief wretched lives cut so brutally short.
That is why three months ago I decided that I would follow a vegan diet. I do not need to eat meat, and there is no justification for the intensive, cruel, factory farming or pigs and chickens. Better that they were not born than to be born to such a brutal, horrid, miserable life.