📣 © Copyright Cam Anh Nguyen (CamAnh Ng Illustration). All rights reserved.

Red Is Luck

First Prize, Welfare of animals used in festivals, Animals Asia Vietnam.

As part of Animals Asia’s campaign to raise public awareness on the welfare issues of animals used in Vietnam’s festivals, the contest aims not only to provide local communities with a broader perspective on animals but also to inspire them to give these beings respect and kindness they deserve, especially those that have helped human survive and prosper throughout history to this day.

The color red is one man’s luck and another being’s blood.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have never watched any festival that uses animals in it, like the bullfighting festival in Spain or the buffalo fighting and cock fighting festivals in my country. The way I see it, these customs are now obsolescent and obviously unnecessary. But it would not be true to say that I have chosen to opt-out of celebrating those festivals because I feel bad for the animals. The idea of ‘animal welfare’ never occurred to me before as no one had ever told me about it, be it my teachers or my family.

Luckily enough, as I grew up I had the opportunity to meet and know people who love animals and work to protect them. I became more aware of animal welfare issues and realized what we humans celebrate and consider ‘luck’ could be exactly the worst nightmare for animals.

That being said, I still couldn’t believe my eyes when Google showed me the results for the “pig slaughtering festival”. I first heard of the festival a year ago but decided to “turn a blind eye” to it. Back then I could not find the braveness to learn further details. This year, however, I finally plucked up enough courage to speak out on behalf of the voiceless, for the images from the pig slaughtering festival have undoubtedly been haunting my mind.

After going through myriads of photos from that festival, the only thing that remained in my head was the color red. The bloodlust was red. The redness of roses, of the palanquins, of people’s costumes. And in the middle of that bloody-red storm lays a pinky pig. The pig was taken out of his pen just this morning, thoroughly bathed, tied up in the palanquin, and welcomed by the villagers with flags and flowers. What was going on in that pig’s mind? People would not care. All they care about is that color of red gushing out of his bound body once the executioner swings his sword.

Cam Anh.