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  • Some time ago I embarked on reportage which I then edited into a book titled "MATADERO". I photographed inside a rather primitive slaughterhouse in the south of the Dominican Republic, where, perhaps due to the absence of a strong social awareness about cruelty towards animals, a photographer is still quite easily being allowed to document this practice.

    Actually, here, the only concern in letting me photograph the slaughterhouse was the obvious lack of hygiene, which could jeopardize business, even in the Dominican Republic, should these photos be published locally.

    My reassurance that it was not my intention to do so, quickly gave me access all areas to photograph “business as usual” in the slaughterhouse.

    All along, while shooting, and later, while editing these photos, a question was in my mind: who is suffering more and longer over here? The animals or the people? The killers or their victims?

    Of course these cows and these pigs are being killed in a very violent and inhuman way, a knife shoved into their heart to then let them bleed till they die, but what about the killers? In this pre-industrial world they don’t even wear the rubber boots, the face mask, the gloves or the white apron their American colleagues are issued (as per FDA rules) in order to preserve a certain degree of hygiene and as a pretense for a more professional and perhaps detached approach to their license to kill.

    No, here the killers walk barefoot in the blood of their victims, they plunge their bodies inside the carcasses to extract their innards, they struggle, man versus pig, sweating, screaming as loud as the pig, while searching for the deadly spot, right above the heart, to give a painful, yet almost instant death.

    And while the animal dies, they don’t. They continue to live in this gory theater of guts and blood and screams, killing animals day after day. In a paradoxical way, the life sentence to the executioner can be perceived as crueler than the death sentence of the victim.

    And then you think: how can they do it?

    They kill to earn a living.
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