Malatapai Livestock Market

The other day we went to a livestock market in the village of Malatapai. I heard that this market is the second biggest of its kind in all of the Philippines, naturally this made me very curious. What can I say about it? It was...something, really something.

We came early, just as the trucks and tricycles began to arrive to the cattle-selling ground. Pigs made up most of the livestock (Filipinos love eating pig) and they made their presence felt pretty quickly. I never knew that pigs were such noisy animals. I knew they made a lot of noise when slaughtered, but I wasn’t aware that even just from being handled a pig makes one of the most heart-wrenching cries imaginable.

These pig-cries filled the air for the next five or so hours. It was impossible to escape from them if I wanted to be anywhere near the market and so I simply had to get used to the noise, as impossible as it initially seemed. At times it actually wasn’t so surprising that the pigs screamed so much, their owners handled them with about as much regard as one has for a shovel or a hammer or some other inanimate object that one can be brutal with. The pigs were pulled by their ears, tails, dragged by the rope tied around their necks and occasionally kicked when they didn’t want to move. The market was undoubtedly a fascinating place, but it was also without a doubt an animal lover’s nightmare.

My depiction of the day is a little toned down, so to say. I tried to focus more on the fascinating and lighthearted than on the horrors. At the end of the day, I feel that most of us in the “west” are so shielded from the reality of the livestock industry that it’s pretty unfair to be judgmental of people who have a much more hands-on approach.