A Wake Up Call

inspirational vegetarian story : a wake up callBy : Christine Duts

I have always loved animals and always tried to help them in any way I could, but as a little girl I had to eat what my parents prepared for me, and if I did not I was forced to stay seated for hours until I would eat my food. I grew up eating meat and when I left my parents´ house, I still bought meat and sausages, and all that.

Years later I moved to Mexico City, and I found work in a school. I did not have a car. So every day I took the bus to work. The bus route took me trough an area that was called "the meat district", and it was indeed an area filled with butcher shops. One shop after the other displayed sliced open carcasses of cows and pigs, split pig heads, and chicken carcasses hung upside down, one after the other, shop after shop. You could even smell the meat.

Then came the slaughterhouse… Nearly every day trucks arrived, mostly carrying pigs, and sometimes sheep. It was there that I witnessed the slaughter of an animal for the first time.

I was sitting in the bus as the workers mounted the trucks with their electric prods. They did not kill their victims in the slaughterhouse; they did it right there, in plain view of everybody, in the open trucks.
I saw everything.

Those trucks had large platforms, and it was right there where the slaughter took place. As my bus drove by slowly, I witnessed those men stabbing and hitting the pigs with the prods. The pigs scrambled in panic, screaming in fear, desperately trying to get out of the trucks where the workers started killing them one by one. Pigs ran everywhere, screaming so loudly and desperately, that their screams tore through my bones and my deepest insides. Tears were at the corner of my eyes.

Their killers enjoyed the suffering. Laughing they went after the pigs, laughing at their fear and panic, laughing at their pain. I did not understand how they could end the lives of those pigs so cruelly. The worst was that people in the bus were pointing at the scene and laughing while I was crying like a baby. At that moment I felt hate for the slaughterhouse workers, and anger and fury at the bus passengers who were too ignorant to care for the pigs´ suffering.

Every day that bus went by there, and every day I prayed: "Please, let no truck arrive today." I could not watch any more suffering. But on a nearly daily basis I witnessed this unspeakable torture and cruelty and I heard the pigs scream. As you know, the scream of a pig is loud and piercing, and every time it felt as if it tore at my soul.

It was very traumatic for me to witness this every single day. I even tried to take a different bus route, but there was not one. A few times I also saw trucks arrive with sheep, but at that moment my bus was just leaving the meat district. I knew though what awaited those sheep, and I wept for them. I cried tears every day when I rode through that horrible area. I went home thinking about it.

I had always eaten very little meat, but still, I was guilty. I realized I was an accomplice to these atrocities.

The next time I visited a super market I picked up a package of meat, and as soon as I had it in my hand, I heard those screams. Terrified I let go of the package and put it back in the rack. I never touched meat again. On that day I began to change my life and I became a vegetarian. Now, many years later, I am a vegan.

One can really say that I was traumatized into vegetarianism. No video made me see the truth. It was thrown at me live, every single day, for weeks, for months.

I remember one pig in particular. He was fighting for his life. Desperately he tried to stay alive, tried to remain standing. The slaughterhouse workers - those bastards - hit him and stabbed him repeatedly with their electric prods, yelling at him and laughing. He fought so hard. He was the only one left alive. All around him lay the corpses of his companions; but he did not give up. His legs were shaking, but he refused to fall. Finally his body could not take the many hits anymore, and he fell, his life gone from him. 
I wish there had been a way to get him out of there, to save his life, but we would not have gotten very far. No one would have let him escape. No one cared over there. And now that I am writing about it - after all these years - the tears are coming back. I never forgot that pig. I even wrote a poem about him.

Packs of meat hang outside,
Corpses cut in half, offered on sale,
A pig’s head displayed in the shop window.
As I drive by, the smell of death welcomes me,
But I can’t run.
I’m stuck between hundreds of my companions
Riding towards their death like me.
I can’t hide between them,
As they will be slaughtered one by one,
Skinned and cut to pieces,
While their screams will pierce the sky.

Then when the truck turns around the corner,
We know it is there,
Death, grinning at us.
Death’s helpers waiting for us,
Holding long thin metal sticks.
We panic and scream in fear,
For we know we are in grave danger.
The truck’s sides slide off,
And the men get on.
All around me pigs are poked at with these horrible sticks.
Panic engulfs us.
We stumble over each other, in a desperate attempt to avoid the deadly hits. 
My companions drop dead beside me.
Screams tear open the sky,
But nobody cares.
People pass by, look at our pain,
And laugh….

I move, I run, I try to hide.
I avoid the pokes as much as I can.
Most of my family and friends lay lifeless around me,
Having gone down in a terrible fight.
I am one of the few left,
And I hope,
Maybe I can escape,
Get of the truck and run to safety.
But then I feel a strong current rip through my body.
I want to fall, lay down,
I scream!
And I see one woman in a bus,
Crying silent tears when she sees me,
Surrounded by people laughing at my suffering.

I refuse to give in.
I stand firmly.
I do not want to die.
Please don’t kill me.
Please don’t kill me!
Another poke with that horrible metal rod.
An electrical jolt crushes my body,
But still I refuse to fall.
I cannot run anymore.
My limbs are numb.
My end is near,
I am trapped.
And still I don’t want to die.
Life, let me cling to you with all my might.
Why? What did I do?
Why this pain now? Why this awful way to end my existence?
I don’t want to…die.
Another strong jolt driven into my body
By death’s helper who is having fun,
Knowing he will win this struggle,
As he always does.
My spirit wants to fight,
But my body is losing strength.
I am still standing.
Desperately I am holding on to life.
But then one more hit,
And I drop on the floor of the truck,
Next to my already dead companions
Who had given up the struggle long before me.
The last thing I see is the sky,
Clear and blue,
Lit up by the sun.
Free of our screams,
Awaiting me.
And then it is dark.

(Slaughterhouse in Tnalnepantla, State of Mexico, 2003. Someone told me that because of its cruelty to animals, this particular slaughterhouse was closed down a few years later. I hope that rumor is true.) Posted by Christine Duts at 02:37

PS. If every one of us inspired ONE person to go meatless imagine the difference we could make in ten years time. I am going to collect inspirational vegetarian/vegan stories to share with everyone. If you think your story will inspire others, please share with me by sending it to info@veglov.com. I will post your stories on this www.veglov.com blog. I believe everyone has his/her own story, I think it must be great when we can share our stories and inspire others. Let’s make the world a better place. ~ Xiao Kang.


  1. Christine, thankyou so much for your powerful story. I hear what you are saying about being traumatized into veganism…I am so sorry for what you witnessed, and glad that although the animals did not 'get out alive', that your heart was strong enough to stay open and you did not become hardened to the cruelty like the men involved. Your words pay tribute to the individuality of the animals slain, their struggle for survival not forgotten now because you were there to bear witness. I have been vegan for a longtime, but as we all know the madness continues, and your story reminds us that we must never turn our backs on the ongoing suffering we are avoiding contributing to ourselves. May your words inspire others to GO VEGAN and give us all strength to keep fighting for freedom for our animal kin!

  2. Though I have seen only a few slaughters.... I have seen goats lined up for slaughter.....I wished I could buy all of them and never let them die but I realised if I buy them they will bring another set for slaughter... As long their profits are not stopped this will continue... Don't deman there won't be a supply... Spread awareness about veganism..... I used to pray everyday on my way to school as we had a major meat market oppsite our school.... I prayed the goats were spared but while returning I would only see their skins lying there..... Vegetarian since 5 years vegan from 2 months.....


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