The Abattoir


Graphic and possibly upsetting images ahead.

You have been warned.

The livestock market leaves nothing to the imagination. A time-tested script of source-to-sell, the life-cycle perfectly executed on a clockwork schedule. Stepping through a heavy metal door loosely covered with yellowing plastic, the cool interior of the death house is a refreshing change from the blistering heat outside. The smell, however, is not.

Laid out across the blood-stained tiled floor of a simple concrete hall, a dance erupts between butcher and carcass as row upon row of cattle, strung up by their legs, wait for their turn to be deftly stripped of flesh and bone. Two young men wield sharp knives to my side, wrapping their knuckles as they slowly run a whetstone over red steel.

More cattle are ushered in and the routine repeats; praying, cutting, skinning and skilfully butchering every inch of every animal. Nothing is left except thick crimson blood running down choked gutters to the world outside.

Outside, a loud, periodic moan envelops the atmosphere. A single circular saw powers up and down as if humming along to a tune. The blade slices with an almost robotic frequency, sheep’s heads are cut from their horns supplying much needed materials for local tradesmen and cooks. Horns will become dagger handles and hair brushes whilst the skulls will soon be boiling in broth for dinner. Entrails of all types are laid out on the bare earth and picked through for who-knows-what.

The carcasses make their way quickly from abattoir to dinner table with the food butchered, sold and eaten the same day. Carcasses are hauled off tied precariously to the back of motorcycles, heads are stacked up and sold for boiling, organs are stuffed with rice and spices and cooked as a local delicacy.

Even the sheep skins are reused, except rather than sold to foreign markets they are strung high up in the trees for local birds to make their nests in.

  • The Abattoir
    The Abattoir
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    The Dragon Wakes
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    A Candid China
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    Auntie R


Photographer & Artist

All content copyright Barnaby Jaco Skinner 2018









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