Respect I

It’s seven o’clock in the morning. It’s a cool dawn; the sun is rising, giving colour to the scenes with its rays and images that will remain printed on my memory.

I’m going to see Bonito in his barn; I’ve separated him from the rest because he gets cramps and the hard winter outdoors would have given him difficulties. Today he is proud and majestic. He is nearly 17 years old, and he’s been with me for more than ten. We know each other well and we understand each other’s expressions; we have a great bond. I don’t want to think about the end; it hurts to take the decision and I’ve been delaying the moment, for days, weeks, years. He’s special. He’s unique, with a special energy …

 

But I also know that he is very old and has difficulty moving, and if he died now and the carcass truck took him away, it would be a meaningless death; I don’t want this for him. I’m sure he does not want it either. The moment has come.

 

There’s also Luisito; he’s a sensitive person and has a great love and respect for his animals, two oxen over 17 and  18 years old; he has lived through and for them.

 

We are going to organize a one-off ceremony to slaughter the oxen.

We will take them the day before, and give them plenty of water and good food, and then at dawn we will bathe them so that they are relaxed when they enter the abattoir. We will put a muzzle of aromatic herbs, thyme and lavender on them, the same flowers they smell every day on the farm, and we will walk with them to the last point, to the end, slowly, without hurrying, as in all great rituals. We will look into their eyes with sadness and complicity and in a few seconds everything will be over and everything will start again …

Now our only challenge will be to honour them as they deserve.