One of the things which occassionally shatters the peace that is Ivon’s Holiday Calm (besides the workmen building a guesthouse in the next compound, and the music blaring out of the local church speakers) is the killing of a pig.
The compound has a number of pigs who are free to wander around and who can often be found venturing as far as the beach in search of interesting things to dig up and eat. The pigs come in the usual variety of sizes, from tiny piglets following their mums to big ol’ grunting porkers who eye everyone with a combination of fear and malevolence (before promptly running away).
Most Indians don’t eat pork; the vast majority being Hindu or Muslim (the Indians, not the pigs, though I suspect the pigs are probably followers of one of the ham-avoiding persuasions), but Martin’s family like many Goans, are Christians and thus are partial to a bit of spicy pork curry.
The downside of keeping pigs and eating them is that they have to be killed before you can eat them (they become quite objectionable if you try to skip that step). The killing always seems to take place in the morning usually before 9am.
It’s not a peaceful end for our porky friends. In most parts of the world, animals are usually slaughtered by having their throats cut and bleeding to death, and so it is for the porcine occupants of the compound. Unlike many animals, pigs make a great deal of noise when being slaughtered, as is their right given what’s happening to them. It starts with frenzied squealing, growing quieter and weaker as the pig loses blood, stopping as the unfortunate creature loses consciousness. The whole event takes a minute or less depending on the animal, and I’ve heard that it’s one of the more humane ways of slaughtering animals. That may be true but is little consolation to the pig. As I’ve mentioned before, almost all of the food we’ve had since we arrived in India has been vegetarian, and hearing the pig being killed strengthens ones resolve to avoid eating animals. It’s sadly true that bacon is one of the more tempting meat-based delicacies and I doubt our good intentions will last beyond the offer of a bacon sandwich in white bread with ketchup.
Few, if any, of the restaurants here serve pork, ham or bacon, probably due to a combination of many of the restaurant workers being Hindu and many of the visitors being Israelis.