‘What Have I Done?’: Ex Pig Farmer Talks About the Reality of Killing Animals for a Living

It’s not often that you hear the internal dialogue of someone who is directly involved with the farming and killing of animals, so when Bob Comis released extracts from his diary, it makes for compelling stuff.

Having become dismayed at the way in which factory farmed animals were treated, Bob decided that the only way to eat meat, without having a guilty conscience, was to raise them and kill them himself.

Going all out to give the pigs the best life possible, Bob’s free range farming operation was supposed to be a solution to the ethical void which exists inside factory farms, but his private thoughts, and eventual decision to go vegan show that the reality behind ‘humane farming’ is not as the industry would have us believe.

A Society Conditioned to Ignore Our Own Feelings

From when we are children, we’re conditioned to override our feelings and get on with it. Emotional men are touted as weak, and emotional women are ‘beyond reason,’ making emotional detachment a sign of strength and trustworthiness.

This is a huge part of our psyche when animal agriculture is concerned. One of the primary reasons veganism and vegetarianism is still so marginalized in society is that it is seen as a ‘silly emotional reaction’ to something that is ‘normal’ and ‘natural.’

The reality is that the only reason the vast majority of people continue to be a part of an inherently cruel system which is reliant on the killing of other sentient beings is because we’ve been conditioned to ignore our natural emotions, and in the 21st century we never actually encounter the animals that are killed for us to eat; we pay other people to do it behind closed doors.

So what does really go on inside the mind of someone who is confronted with the day to day raising and killing of animals?

“This morning, as I look out the window at a pasture quickly growing full of frolicking lambs, I am feeling very much that it might be wrong to eat meat, and that I might indeed be a very bad person for killing animals for a living.”

This was just one of many similar journal entries over the 10 years of Bob’s farming career, but it was by no means the extent of the emotional struggle that he faced on a daily basis.

A Crisis of Conscience Averted by the Reassurance of a Job Well Done

In a recent article that Bob wrote, he explained in detail how the killing and ‘breaking down’ of the pigs deeply affected him, and how he continually blocked the emotions and carried on going, in the belief that he was doing a good thing:

And, for nearly 10 years without fail, I met every crisis of conscience with a satisfactory rationalization, no matter how deeply the crisis cut.

“I have seen them cut up into retail cuts — but when I opened that box and saw that jumble of soft hearts and bloody tongues I was physically and emotionally overwhelmed. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Suddenly, through unfiltered, raw emotion, I felt, quite frankly, like a cold-blooded murderer waking up to the reality of what he had done. I almost threw up.”

These are the kinds of experiences that most meat eaters will never encounter. Nobody ever sees the life drain out of the animals eyes, nobody hears their screams, and nobody smells the stench of their dead bodies as they’re sliced and diced.

Even for Bob, who had been heavily involved in the process for a decade, he was only able to bury his true feelings for so long.

But the desensitization process which he had used to repress his true emotions was powerful enough to overcome even this experience.

And then I thought, What have I done?

I continued to ask myself that question over and over again as I worked. I was as far from being able to resolve a crisis of conscience as I had ever been. I was reeling. 

But then, a customer entered the shop, looked Bob in the eye and said, “Thank you so much for what you do.”

The young woman’s thanks had been so earnest that it steadied me. I stopped reeling. I had my answer. What I had done, I had done for her. I had given her an opportunity, an alternative, a way to opt out of the factory farming and industrial slaughter systems. I had also given the pigs wonderfully rich lives, and made sure they were killed quickly and painlessly. I had nourished that young woman — body and soul. Being reminded by her of what I had done nourished my own soul.

The powerful resolution to that almost insurmountable crisis proved durable. For the next few years, I raised pigs for slaughter without another serious crisis of conscience. I stayed focused on providing the pigs with the best lives and deaths that I could give them. As I matured into an accomplished pig farmer, I became proud of what I was doing.

Out of Sight Out of Mind – But Still a Reality

When we demand animal-based products, we’re not just taking away the lives of animals, we’re asking human beings to act against their natural instincts and to suppress their emotions so that we can continue to live out our lives without the sights, smells and sounds of the slaughterhouse eating away at our own consciences.

If every person had to physically kill and process the animals that they ate for every single meal, the emotional trauma that it would cause would almost instantaneously turn people away from the idea that it is ever ethical to kill another being for a meal.

Photo Credit: myfrozenlife

237 comments

Brian Pike
Brian Pikeabout a year ago

This factory murder of animals is not a bit different than Hitler's systematic killing of millions of Jews, or of ISIS or Boko Haram beheading or burning thousands of people. In fact it's worse than that.

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Brian Pike
Brian Pikeabout a year ago

The majority of humanity is alien to nature, alien to morals, alien to life practice of slaughtering animals for meat IS not only a bad thing, it is the ultimate in evil. Don't start blabbering about "food chain" and "circles" or whatever insane stupid excuses humanity has for its monstrous atrocities. HUMANITY IN GENERAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NATURE. IT HAS NO ROLE IN ECOSYSTEMS, IT IS A DESTROYER OF NATURE AND OF LIFE, THAT IS ITS ONLY FUNCTION.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

Sharing

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek
Julia Cabrera-Woscekabout a year ago

Awful.

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Latonya W.
Latonya Wabout a year ago

Never knock people for being honest especially when the change is positive and moving forward because then u give reasons to return to a mean lying person...one step at a time..look how GOD is forgiving us every day for our different sins when really most of us do not deserve his forgiveness..This man is on his way to being a vegetarian or vegan dont discourage that...

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Christina Wilson
Christina Wilsonabout a year ago

Deborah Servey - Have you ever read "The Secret Lives of Plants"? It's an old book, I know, but the latest research still says much the same thing - that the plants we normally eat for food seem to like being eaten. I read extensively to stay informed, but in the end I go by what my heart tells me.

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Kathie Z.
Kathie Z.about a year ago

Though I abhor factory farming, humanely raising and slaughtering animals for meat is not a bad thing. The food chain is a real thing. If predators and hunters did not thin the deer population, they would overpopulate and many would starve in the winter. As for domestic livestock, if all the cows, pigs, sheep and goats were turned loose in nature, many would perish. Only the wealthy could afford to keep all those animals as pets, if none were sold as meat to earn funds for hay and grain.

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.about a year ago

He still has No Conscience to be able to STILL MURDER these INNOCENT Souls who have Every RIGHT to live!

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 .
.about a year ago

Wake Up! Stop Accepting a lesser EVIL!

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