Like Cattle

I wrote this poem in response to the devestating story about live cattle exports from Australia to Indonesia on Four Courners on Monday night.  The cruelty was abhorrent and left me traumatised after watching ( I say watching but it was mostly hiding under the covers, blocking my ears so I didn’t have to hear…) This is my response, please be aware it’s not one of my nicer poems.

Like cattle

We line up each day

One by one we file on

Buses, trains and aeroplanes

Our little ticket punched

We sit relaxed

We chatter, we laugh

We’re calm

Until we get to our destination

Of work, school or play

Now imagine

We are cattle

We file on to our transport

Tickets punched

Calmly munching

Then arriving at our destination

Forced into a box

And watch as your fellow

Passenger is tortured

Their head smashed against concrete

Limbs breaking

Screams piercing and echoing

As slowly they are

Broken and killed

And you’re left trembling

With the agonising fear

Of knowing…

 You’re next.


Thank you for the award and I nominate

K McGee Poetry.

Corellas picnic

birds at a jumble sale

searching for a treasure


44 thoughts on “Like Cattle

  1. You’re right. It wasn’t a ‘nice’ poem, but it wasn’t a ‘nice’ subject either.

    I do like the way you brought me into the poem, made it more personal.

  2. A strong one… Love it how you approached the problem, drawing the readers attention and making him/her imagine, almost feel like this cattle…

  3. Ouch, what if we were traveling a journey towards being inhumanly slaughtered? Worthy thought, yet painful. Thanks for sharing and it has been a while since I visited you. This is an eye-opener.

    Sorry I miswrote your name when I previously commented.

  4. WOW! You seriously gave me chills with this one. I thought you were going somewhere else with this poem until I got about half way through and them BAM! Great job, even though I know the subject is a hard one to think about, you have done it justice.

  5. Yes. I am predominantly vegetarian. This is one reason among many. Have you seen the movie Temple Grandin? Man, it was interesting. Really a film that has stuck with me for a long time. She tried to do right by the cattle. She sure as hell tried.

  6. wow violent and gruesome! i love this!

    just a thought about this:
    just put it this way, what if there was a higher entity besides man and is above the food chain? and suddenly this higher entity loses its respect in man and decides to just slaughter us all for his son’s grand birthday party buffet? how would you feel? if you can put your self in the poultry’s shoes i think you’d be so terrified and become a vegan yourself.

  7. You bring out your point so vividly, I could feel the fear in the mind. And as the last line was read, a shiver came spontaneously. This was well executed. I love it for that!

  8. Sad what happens to animals. I see someone else commented relating the story of Temple Grandin, I was going to do the same. It’s an extraordinary look, not only into the cattle industry but also into Autism in general. We do though use this metaphor, we see it a lot, no matter what the walk in life. We feel at times like we’re being led to slaughter. Thankfully it is typically but a metaphor. Not so for the cattle, very sad. Thanks for sharing:)

  9. Awe man! this is horrible! being raised on a dairy farm this made me cry!
    i would take naps after school with my cow sandysue. so this ..awe man It hurts to even think it.

  10. I am sorry that such a horrible thing had to be heard by you or anyone. Such a travesty! You honor them by writing about them and the trauma they endured.

  11. When the planet gets too crowded to have room for animals, hopefully there will be room for plants. An old sci-fi movie, Soylent Green, with Charlton Heston came to the conclusion that people would become food.

  12. I’m vegan, so this spoke to me, of course. But what I love about your poem is that it’s not just about the cruelty we inflict on animals, but the inhumanity that we inflict on each other. Thanks for this.


  13. Been out of town (and off my game) so I missed this one. I honestly believe if we all had to watch the process, most of us would be vegetarians. ” Anyway..this was quite a thought provoking piece. Good job. Vb

  14. It might not be your nicer poem but it is awesome. I could feel the fear, I could imagine myself lining up to death. I agree with you. Cruelty with animals is worthy of punishment.

  15. I thank all for commenting, it is heart warming to see that so many feel the same…that cruelty to animals is something society just won’t stand for… thank you !!

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