Dead Wolf Marketplace

2006-02-13

in Oxford, Politics, Rants

Up on South Parks Road, there is a sheet-metal covered barrier that is at least twelve feet high – topped with several strands of razor wire. In front, there are concrete blocks and along the top there are fixed and movable security cameras. This barricade is built around the Oxford Animal Lab, which hundreds of people have been protesting and which has gone through several building contractors because they keep getting scared off by death threats. The builders now wear balaclavas, for fear of being harassed when off the site.

Less than a kilometer away, as I was walking through the covered market in search of a shop where Louise told me I might find more kinds of tofu, I passed six dead wolves hanging from hooks. I was astonished. Six headless, fur-covered, quadrupedal corpses split down the middle and hanging along the edge of a pathway that people bustle down with bags of new shoes.

The obvious charge is one of hypocrisy, but my response to the dead creatures was nowhere near so rational. It was a shock and disgust that persists hours later – despite efforts to wash it away with organic cola (disgusting) and ciabatta with cheese and roast veggies.

Along with the rows of dead rabbits (their heads in plastic bags so as to help people avoid anthropomorphizing them), the quail, and all the rest of the meat, they produce a smell that permeates the whole market and that lingers in my nostrils. Colour me confirmed in my vegetarianism.

[Edited: 7:46pm] Having consulted a wolf expert in circumstances too strange to go into, the consensus if that the aforementioned quadrupeds are assuredly not wolves. My imperfect photos reveal fur that is the right colour, but legs that are decidedly too thick. Headless, they remain unidentified.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

B February 13, 2006 at 4:33 pm

“Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.”

Ben February 13, 2006 at 11:27 pm

I don’t imagine there’s much demand for wolf meat. I find that butchers disgusting too.

Esther (Tui) February 14, 2006 at 4:30 pm

it is rather unpleasant passing by a bunch of corpses whilst wandering around town,but as a vegetarian the only meat-eaters i actually respect are those who realise that what they are eating is a dead animal. if someone would kill an animal to eat it then (although i myself find it rathar barbaric)they should feel free. What annoys me is the hypocracy of the people who happily eat meat whenever but prefer to beleive its something else (although i was once one of them so i can’t be too mean).
although the butchers in the covered market is a bit umm ‘icky’ it lets me pretend that I’ve travelled back in time. I find it quite natural (more so than processed, packaged meat in supermarkets). i know the aesthetics of it can be frowned upon in a way it’s beautiful.
am i talking crap or does anyone understand?

Anonymous April 28, 2006 at 7:53 pm

Here is a painting by someone who obviously saw the same thing.

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