309: End


About 18 months later he gave me one last look.

I was standing on the catwalk above the holding pens at the Ovation processing plant in Hastings, Below me 309 stood alone and at a loss on sterile concrete. His eyes glossy, his nose wet. He seemed much smaller in that holding pen. At around 7am the following morning he was washed down and gently ushered into the killing bay. He was stunned with an electric shock to the forehead by a charged stainless steel plate before a bolt gun was applied to the top of his skull and he was dispatched, passing out of his short life into the bowels of the abattoir.

I worked in the processing plant for a couple of hours that morning, recording all kinds of horror, thinking about colour, composition, meaning and moment. I tried not to think about any living breathing thing. Later that day in the staff room a tall lean Maori man in white coverall and a hair net presented me with a severed ear. Attached to the ear was tag number 309.