Pigs: between China and Haiti, a hotel or a museum?

In the province of Hubei, China, a vertical farm that can accommodate 650 pigs has just opened its doors. 58 million euros, 26 floors, 25,000 pigs on each level. Elevators can support up to 240 animals. 54,000 tons of meat per year are in the list of the most relevant information published in major media around the world, to introduce the largest and first pig hotel in the world. Why such interest in pigs in China?

From birth to the slaughterhouse, the managers of this project plan to raise more than 650,000 pigs as a goal. How should Haiti be inspired by this news to rethink or give back to pigs, the true place they have in history, society, spirituality, education and especially the national economy?

Too bad that one of the few countries in the world, whose myths around the pig occupy an important place in its genesis and ancestral traditions, consumption and production, practically only has informal and improvised places, between the streets and the quarters, to welcome the pigs who continue to remind us of their true place.

In the history and evolution of Haiti, there are practically five dimensions to take into account, to camp the pigs in their different statuses. Apart from certain religious practices that do not consume meat and all products derived from pork, this animal is highly appreciated by other traditions both for its meat, its contribution in multiple Haitian recipes such as “Griot”, among others. , apart from quotations, comparisons and other insults.

First, as a sacred animal, it is in the stories around the first great meeting organized by the rebellious slaves, on the night of August 13 to 14, 1791, that the testimonies are divided between the voluntary sacrifice of a human, and/or a pig, whose blood had been distributed to the members of the audience, as a sign of initiatory commitment and mystical mobilization, as is done in many religions in the ancient and current world.

From this ceremony organized in 1791, which would lead to the great slave revolt of Saint-Domingue a week later. A necessary passage, to lead to the Victory of the revolutionary blacks in the last military and mystical battles held in Vertières against the French army, on November 18, 1803. And a few weeks later, the proclamation of the independence of Haiti was going to take place. confirmed on January 1, 1804.

Since this starting point, the pig has imposed itself in popular and ancestral traditions, in the collective imagination, and the inventory of offerings, mystical sacrifices, and certainly in the culinary art and even the favorite recipe of one of the most important spirits of Vodou in Haiti, Erzulie Freda. This important female character who celebrates the woman of African origin and several other virtues, privileges, powers and obligations between negotiations with the living and the dead. Who can dare to celebrate lwa Erzulie without a pork-influenced recipe or food offering?

Behind these two initiatory and mystical or even gastronomic dimensions, influenced by the elements that make up pork, between blood, meat or even bones, in Vodou, for a long time, the economy of peasant life, thousands of families in the countryside was dominated by the breeding of so-called pigs (Kochon kreyòl). An important and capital animal, which was practically undemanding, in terms of food, conditioning, environment and care, unlike the pigs imported into Haiti, all over the world, after the massacre of the “Kochon Kreyòl” accused of disease imposed or negotiated by the authorities of the United States, between the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the years, with the authorities of the Duvalier regime.

Since this massacre, a new generation of pigs or (Kochon Grimèl) has invited itself and adapted to the Haitian space, while requiring much more conditioning, between imported food and the care with which the majority of peasants, herders and families in Haiti, could not even afford their children.

In the current urban chaos, which reveals the poverty of the provincial towns and the migration of peasants to the big cities, the breeding of imported pigs has also become established in a good number of the country’s big cities, and why not in the Haitian capital, until the democratization of the cohabitation between families and pigs between houses and their courtyards, apart from the regular walks of the pigs in the streets, challenge each other and feed on practically everything, including waste, human.

Faced with the urban and chaotic disorder confirmed in the planning and development of a large number of cities in the country, between the inability and the impotence of the majority of municipal administrations to have the resources to ensure better management of waste in the city, pigs always find a great opportunity to meet freely in the improvised dumping sites in the different neighborhoods of our cities.

Become practically an important actor as much in the sacred, symbolic, gastronomic, economic and sociological history in Haiti, the pigs in Haiti, contrary to their pairs which have in China an imposing building of 26 floors, practically a luxury hotel, a prison or a slaughterhouse, have practically more freedom to circulate freely, between passers-by, vehicles and motorcycles, all freely choosing their à la carte menu, practically on every street corner.

Faced with all these historical, mystical, gastronomic, sociological and economic dimensions which considerably increase the power of pigs in Haiti, on the living and some of their daily behavior, the development of a museum of pigs in Haiti, to raise awareness and educate the Haitian population could greatly enable Haiti to catch up with China.

Recipes in Haitian cuisine, rituals in Vodou, quotes and exhibitions, screenings, publications, animations, creations, illustrations, among other events and interventions around the world of pigs. ‘here and elsewhere, in the streets as in the farms among others, are so many knowledge, skills, culture and behaviors that allow visitors, especially Haitians to learn and train, to educate through the lessons taught by pigs.

Pigs are found almost everywhere in Haiti, practically in all cities and at all hours of the day and night, alone or in groups, looking for an environment to rest and renew themselves. In the history and evolution of the history of Haiti, pigs are both witnesses and privileged and influential actors in the shaping of beings, well-being, the environment, the imagination. collective in all.

Dominique Domercant

Legend: The world’s leading consumer of pork, China has just opened a mega-high-tech pig-breeding structure. CP/ C-NEWS

Pigs: between China and Haiti, a hotel or a museum?