What you'll see in these pages are graphic pictures of animal slaughter.

For these farmers, this is a way of life -- the circle starts again.


We are story-telling photo-documentarians. We provide these images as part of our work to illuminate the millennia old traditions of landed peasants. 

Dealing with life, death and suffering, as these images do, they are likely to stir strong emotions in our viewers. Before judging their lives or our intentions, we invite you to explore these more thoroughly at our Romania Site


Leashed for death
December means time to harvest the pigs

For those interested in the debate over Animal Rights and their use as a food source: 

Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals.


Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy.

For more check our books page.

December 1999:

Dragging to deathThey treat their animals with care until the day they're ready to dispatch them.

On that day, they tie the pig's leg across its chest and lug it along, keeping it off balance.

At this point, the pig realizes it's in mortal danger, and those who have fed it all its life are now its enemies.



Bleeding to death   

But its howling squeals garner it no pity. Three men struggle to attach a second cord and pull its legs back to expose its throat.

One puncture begins an inexorable flood of blood, and death comes after a minute of unanswered trumpeting calls for help.

It makes a sound like a dying dinosaur.



This pig almost broke free of its bonds, giving everyone a fright, and granting these men a higher feeling of accomplishment when it was dead.


Dead pig   








Once they wash up, it becomes a two person job; two men disappear and the woman of the house takes over helping Petru.

Hay on pig   




To clean the hair off the pig, they cover it with hay,


Hay fire on pig   

and set it on fire.


Petru on the pig

They repeat this burning several times, scraping the hair off after each burn.

Petru rests for a moment, tuica in hand.    




Chickens in the blood   

They drag the pig away from its blood.

Chickens take advantage of some windfall nutrition.

Pig's eye   




The pig's eye comes out to help drain out its blood, and is tossed away onto the ground.




After a few fires, they peel off the hooves and throw them on the ground.


Eating the ears   


Its ears have been heated so much they're now cooked.

It's considered a treat.




A stiff brush scrubs away the burnt skin and hair. It's the only way to get it clean.


Door for butchering   

Everyone uses a door for their butchering tasks.




Moving the pig   

This pig is 240 kilos (530 pounds) and it took five people to lift it onto the butchering table.


Preparing for the cut   


They keep washing out its blood.

Here is the third flushing.



Peeled off legs   

First to come off are the legs, torn off sort of like pruning branches -- cut and peel.



Cutting the head   



Their next priority is to get the head off because it requires the most boiling before making it into sausage.



Pulling open the head   



Marioara's mother died seven weeks ago, so in her forties, she's learning how to butcher a pig for the first time. Petru, her neighbor, is passing on his time honored wisdom.

They strain to crack open the skull.


Axing the head open   


It splits open faster with a hatchet.

Slitting open the back   



With the head gone, they move on to slitting the hide, ...







... and ripping off the fat.



Mariora with the slanina   




Marioara carries off the fatback, which they call 'Slanina.' Once it's smoked, it forms a staple part of their year-round diet.




The intestines are piled into a plastic lined basket.

This is the point where things began to really smell.




Organs come out and go into the soup.







The spine comes off of an ever-shrinking pile of flesh.

They work stoically through freezing temperatures. It was two hours before Marioara complained her hands were cold.




A pigs bladder holds about two liters of urine (half a gallon.)






They tie off one end of the bladder to keep the toxic contents inside.





Marioara uses the urine from the other end of the bladder to help wash the stones free of the blood.




Go see how they prepare the meat

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