Here’s a true story:

A wild pig enters a flower shop…

The shop owner, apparently thinking the pig was an “ugly dog” calls the police. There is no speed dial for ‘The departments of wild pigs’ – so the police outsources the job to the city’s special pest control agent –the hunter. However, by the time the hunter arrives, he realises that the tables have turned. The flower shop girl bonds with the pig and will not stand to see the animal harmed. The journalist arrives and threatens the hunter with the wrath of the media. The people of the city are torn between a battle of pig-haters and pig-lovers.

In the scathing list of viewer comments from a Youtubevideo of a boar feeder (shown in previous blog) one remark struck me:

“Das deutsche Volk mit seinem Walt-Disney-Syndrom ist an Dummheit weltweit wohl nicht zu überbieten!”

It really doesn’t take a top-class linguist to understand – ‘pantarhei 75’ is condemning the feeding behaviour of the pig-feeder for sharing the idealized sentimental relationships between man and beast presented in classic Disney characters. In another article called the animal-sympathists “Bambi Syndrome”, with a ‘scientific term’ “Swolenogin Bambitis Ignoramus“.  A pig in a city is treated as an invading terror  in the style of Big Bad Wolf, rather than the traditional forest victims in the tale of the Three Little Pigs.

In the actual event, the story plot is turning to align more with the values of our post-Pixar age, even our boar villains are becoming subjects of rescue stories:

Hunters are often physically attacked  by German residents. These pest control consultants are verbally abused and generally outcast by the very same city-dwellers that celebrate the famous currywurst and burger bars. The same animal can be branded into both sculpted characters of emotive fantasies and invisible recipients of battery farm lives. The reality is that as we are entering into an era where we’re starting to acknowledge the complexity of characters, we’d like to think that we’re starting to see past the naïve roles of victim, heros and villans in traditional storytelling. The terror of invasive animals as well as the adoration of ‘t-shirt animals’ are both products of the extremes of a difference in social acceptance.

It seems that any animal can escape death if it captures our imagination. Take it a step further, what about making a toy wheel chair to let a disabled piglet move around? Pig on wheels has taken social media by storm, accumulated its own fans and incited the help of a company that specializes in handicapped pets. It’s easy to feel empathy for a tiny pink piglet, but what about a fish?

The webscape is filling up with videos of dogs on wheels, sheep on wheels, cat on wheels. Hopefully at some point we can critically see the loop from a larger perspective. We are nurturers as well as predators. At least the meat-eating majority will have to come to terms our squeamish dilemma regarding our relationship with animals. Here’s a realization of a man who ate his dead pet fish:

“sort of herringy with a hint of blue whale”

I’ll hope to hear more sensible eating experiments from the urban farmers Incredible Edibles  in the next post. ..

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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