While exploring Los Angeles, we discovered a mural that explores the relationship between human beings and the animals we kill for food.
Full disclaimer - I am an omnivore, and have no problem eating meat. But when meat is sold for humans to eat, the marketing methods can sometimes result in concepts and images that are really bizarre.
Here, at a carniceria in South Central Los Angeles, a mural by the front door shows the balance of human vs. animal power turned on its head. We all know that human beings raise animals and butcher them for their meat. Yet here, a David-like butcher is confronted by an overpowering Goliath-like menacing pig. As if the pigs had the upper hand in this relationship. There are even beads of sweat springing off the little butcher's forehead.
The pig towers over the little butcher, frowning, with beetled brows and a twisted mouth sort of like this guy.
Pretty scarey. The picture is full of tension, suspense. Who will save the little butcher from the looming monster? Yet the plucky butcher has his secret weapon, the cleaver, hidden behind his back.
Drive around the corner, and you see the denouement of the drama. The butcher has prevailed. But - wait - was this a combat, or a taming? He holds the pig gently, like the shepherd holds a lamb, over his shoulders. He's smiling. The pig looks pretty content too. Actually, now he looks a little like this guy.
What happens to the subdued and happy pig? Will it be chopped into...well...chops? Or have the two adversaries achieved detente? Have they rethought their relationship in the food chain? Will they now peacefully co-exist? Has this carniceria become a vegan establishment?
No, sorry - inside the store there's a fully stocked case of ribs and loin roasts and stew meat. It's clear that some pigs are going to be butchered - will it be this particular pig? or other, less fortunate pigs?
What is the relationship here? Has the butcher lured the once-mighty pig, only to betray him? Or has this pig successfully wooed his adversary, and will now become the self-hating porcine betrayer of fellow pigs?