The car headlights jumped up over a small incline. We ducked down in our chunky jackets in the dark scrub. There had been the choice of leaving the car down the street, or parking well out of the area and then hiking across swampy paddocks, with bulls at one end and barbed wire fences at the other. We hid for sometime thinking that the house lights were car lights. All the dogs had gone. Only one old beagle bitch remained since the confiscation. She was chained up to a steel pole at the far end of the property. It was redneck backwater territory, a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock of the mind country. There was a man on the other side of a road shooting at a possum up in his front yard tree, the crazy dog running circles beneath the branches, half mad with fear and the kill. The owner reached for the old rifle on drunken Saturday nights alone. One day it would be the dog's turn to go. The old codger who owned this dog farm was senile. He had a shot gun and could have fired on any one of us in the dark. If I was him and eight people in black were in my yard, then I'd grab for the gun as well. The place was just about closed down. He got up and the lights came on, all the activists running and tripping over the debri. Someone twisted an ankle and yelped to stifle the pain, but he was only cough and phlegm on his way from the bedroom to the bathroom. Weeks before when the place was being inspected, we drove right up to his loungeroom window, and there he was his bare hairy chest looking straight out at us. He was the man who kept dogs in pits, who blinded puppies under upturned ten gallon drums, then after showing a council inspector, suddenly he dropped the drum back down, so that one of the puppies who had poked his head out was slowly decapitated. He was a moron, a cruel old bastard, a stinking specimen of a human being. We met them all the time, we see the bad work they are doing. Mist, pine forests, darkness, valleys in flood by fog, looked like lakes but they were paddocks, cold, barren, unnamable, five hundred tiny fluffy terriers and soft warm brown cockaspaniels, just love to run my hands along the side of them, the dogs were caked in mud, straw and their own shit, grey and white runny shit all up our clothing, sticking to our legs, prolapsed uterus's from over breeding, that is when the uterus just caves in and falls out of the anus, the tired old breeding mother trying to shit out her own organs, because her life has become shit, hundreds of neglected barking dogs in the mist, the two managers inside the house, in the city if one dog barks, the entire street is opening its windows in annoyance or concern, yet these people hear the boredom, the distress, the loneliness, the physical pain, the freezing winter, the lack of shelter, in the barking of hundreds upon hundreds of disease ridden dogs, still they manage to sleep through it, they live through it, they live surrounded by it day in day out, they shovel shit, hit dogs on the head with shovels and make their slow profit, their psyches must be shot, somewhere they must hold the troubled guilt inside, to mistreat and farm a dog, pet shop owners love the puppies produced from these farms, they hate animals and love money, they know, like the dog farmer knows, the average public want small and fluffy puppies, but just look at the origin of them, the grey shit steams and melts in my palm, the straw is wet, it is raining, mist below zero, they sleep on cracked wet wooden boards, concrete or mud, food bowls are full of straw, sloppy dog food and shit, dogs are racing to the backs of the pens, some cringe, others still wagging their tails, the one beneath the old box with the chain buried deep into his neck will attack, his insanity buried in there with him, he is beyond hope, this place churns out products, shit and uterus's, it is a puppy factory, the dogs in the pet shops come from it, meanwhile 30,000 dogs a year are killed at the lost dogs home, we have surplus dogs, we destroy life, but still be churn out more, in chasing the eternal profit, with each troubled bark our psyches are shot, tonight we had to leave five hundred dogs behind, eating shit and rain I see the country in a different way. Rural is a machinery for breaking down life into human consumption. Yellow paddocks cleared and holding early morning mist are Victorian. Trees have been broken down. A magpie sitting along the fence post was preening himself. It was called a common bird but he was persistence. For now he has managed to avoid the crop harvester that sweeps up everything of the land into itself. The magpie was a rare survivor amongst the prickly yellow gorse, that moved across the fields as impenetrable as rocks. This rampaging gorse growing so much, as though it tried to dig its way back to the United Kingdom. The country was industry waste, farm chemical, and prickly gorse. All those sheds and suffering animals locked inside them. There was a huge human made reservoir that had flooded the valley, clearing paddocks by drowning them. This toxic water was grey beneath a grey sky. One of the things that ran into this reservoir was cat shit and piss from a cat breeder. There had been complaints about her locking the cats in a tiny tin shed. We saw the shed in the distance, and they way that it shone silver even on the dull days. We could hear all the cats meowing inside. A racket went on as the tin door scraped along cement. We didn't stay around too long, as we didn't want to push our luck. Many cats were trapped in cages. They would never see sunlight or breathe the open air at night. The shed was full of junk. A lot of the junk obscured our view. The cats were literally crazy. The stench of cat urine filled the air like paint stripper. My throat was burning as we crossed the paddocks in the dark. Cats yowl really loud in the night with their flattened back ears, and their huge unforgiving eyes as big as planets. We could hear them meowing in the sheds surrounded by prickly gorse, calling out to something that never came close. There is something about all that empty land and all those sheds full of animals. Where I live anymore doesn't matter.
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