Swiss butcher ‘equated’ to ISIS for publicly slaughtering pigs to ‘revive tradition’

Swiss butcher ‘equated’ to ISIS for publicly slaughtering pigs to ‘revive tradition’
Two Swiss butchers, who decided to revive an old local tradition involving the public slaughter of pigs, faced backlash from animal rights activists. One of them claims he has been even compared to Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

Rolf Haering and Heiner Oberer, two butchers from the Swiss town of Sissach located near the city of Basel, organized the public slaughter of two pigs Sunday in an attempt to revive a local custom known as Metzgete. Watched on by some 150 curious onlookers, Haering and Oberer killed and carved up the two pigs. Nowadays, Metzgete mostly describes traditional Swiss dishes made from the fresh meat of pigs slaughtered the same day.

Some 20 protesters were standing near the tent where the slaughter took place, holding up placards that read: "Animals feel, animals suffer" and "Their pain for your pleasure." Their protest was peaceful, however, and no one tried to disrupt the event, the organizers said.

Haering told the Blick daily that he received many threatening letters ahead of the ritual, with some comparing him to Islamist head choppers carrying out public executions and recording them on video. “I was even equated to IS terrorists. They also slaughter [their victims] in public,” he told the daily.

Former priest Lukas Baumann, a strong opponent of the butchers’ activity who has been a vegetarian for 16 years, announced a particularly dramatic protest action. The animal rights activist said he would flay himself in public at the town square wearing medieval clothes two days after the slaughter.

Describing the practice as “a scandal,” he said “such brutality should not be shown in public.”

The two butchers insist they wanted to illustrate “humane” methods of killing the animals in contrast to the routines used at industrial slaughterhouses. "We don't want to amuse people,” Oberer told the Basler Zeitung, adding that the slaughter was deliberately carried out early morning so as to not to shock casual bystanders.