Today, we feel so lucky to feature the beautiful, heart-wrenching photography of Mike Hrinewski. When he’s not busy rescuing animals, he finds the time to tell their stories with soul-capturing photos. Mike’s work pairs well with the equally gorgeous poetry of Gretchen Primack.
Photo Essay: The Last Moments of Life in New York City’s “Live Markets”
by Mike Hrinewski
All of the animals in the following photos have been killed.
Their throats were slit at “live markets” located around Brooklyn, New York. Each bird was left upside-down in a cone to bleed out every last drop of life. Within a matter of moments, their bodies were torn apart. Having arrived at the market in cages from factory farms, they left the markets piece by piece in plastic grocery bags. At the busier markets, customers streamed in and out all day long, often personally selecting the birds they wish to be killed for a “meal.”
Yet to spend even a moment with these lovely animals is to quickly observe their unique individual personality traits — their fears, their desires for safety and comfort. Yet there is no comfort for them in any system that views sentient animals as a disposable commodity.
The pride and strength seen in the eyes of the chicken in the first image also shows his intelligence and quiet judgment of those who have subjected him to this fate. The final picture in this collection is of a duck who kept straining her neck out of the cage for what she perceived as a dirty puddle of water. In reality, it was just a dry shiny stain on the floor. But since ducks crave water, and none had been provided, this duck was trying with all her might to get to what she thought was a comforting drink. It broke my heart.
Live vegan. Advocate for all animals. Support their collective liberation.
(Be moved by the photos below, and then please read on for a meaningful poem by Gretchen Primack.)
By Gretchen Primack
Only humans mother. Only we
care for our babies. Everything
else spits out young. Thank god
you’re here, they say, please
rid me of my children. Sell them.
Cage them, kill them. Take
my useless milk. My pups.
Take my eggs. Crack them,
fry them up. Only you mother;
I just lay. Squeeze out. I’m a vessel,
a factory, a vending machine.
Take my young. Profit from them.
Mike Hrinewski is a New Jersey based animal rescuer and photographer.
Gretchen Primack is a writer, educator, and animal activist from New York’s Hudson Valley. She’s the author of two poetry collections, Kind (Post Traumatic Press 2013), which explores the dynamic between humans and non-human animals in our time and place, and Doris’ Red Spaces (Mayapple Press 2014). Gretchen also co-authored the memoir The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery, 2012) with Jenny Brown. Her poetry publication credits include The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, and many others. For more information about her books, visit gretchenprimack.com/books.