The Telegraph has published an unsettling article back in 2002, concerning a practice done by soldiers in Peru. As a solid proof of masculinity, and as a proof that they are now ready to face the enemy, these soldiers attack, stab and kill dogs that had been tied up and spread-eagled between two poles. . If this cruel practice has a purpose, it is to use animals as the final stage before confronting humans as an almost ritualistic procedure. Stab the dog; don’t shoot the dog from afar. Engage in a close, intimate encounter when you take his life away. Be close to the dog when he shrieks in pain and terror.
The message is clear: “Do unto other humans what you do to animals.” Above all – the animal life doesn’t matter. The suffering of the animal is even being mocked, as it becomes a symbol rather than what it really is – a painful reaction to cruel and malicious exploitation.
While unsurprisingly what Joni Ernst, US senator from Iowa, calls against are abortion, federal minimum wage and the department of education, her battle against the democrats takes a morbid turn, as it turns out that Ernst enjoys castrating pigs (at least she makes fun of it in her video) and projects her past violence upon animals on the democrats in the white house, in some sort of a ghoulish metaphor.
Carol J Adams points out that when we say something like “Raping the Earth”, regarding, for instance, oil corporations or the meat/milk industry, what we are doing in fact is making, or perhaps using women as ‘Absent referents’ since in the context of the human world, women are the primary victim of rapes. In that sense, Joni Ernst is doing the same things to another group of victims – the pigs.
“Make ’em squeal!” is the chosen slogan, pointed as the threat that is Joni Ernst to the democrats at the white house. Her pride in maiming these little pigs without sedatives, causing them to squeal in pain, is foul and grotesque. Furthermore, she uses this pride in order to prove how prepared she is to face humans. Like the case of Peru, first she tortured animals, now it’s the time for some human interaction.
Ernst also receives a gift- castration equipment mounted on the wooden plate. Semantics changed the original purpose of this device. Ernst would probably say that this is a procedural method of castration needed in the farm, but a more objective eye would see something else. This is a device of torture, pain and maiming, and this is something that makes Ernst proud, as she does not talk about the function of castration, but about the satisfying result- inflicting pain.