Sunday, December 16, 2007

Market in Zaachila

Zaachila is about 12 miles south of Oaxaca city and has been having a Thursday market for hundreds of years. The town is named for the Zapotec ruler, Zaachila Yoo. The city was taken over by the Mixtec shortly before the Spaniards arrived and is thus has a heritage of being a Mixtec-Zapotec capitals that was still inhabited at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

Zaachila is known for its bustling livestock market. Some may think that the animals brought for sale are being displayed in a cruel fashion but although the animals are not happy to be here and one could say they are stressed by the experience, they are not treated in a cruel way. There is feed for for the animals and the market is over by early afternoon. The animals that are not sold are taken back to the farm. These people are too poor and the animals too valuable for them to be mistreated to the point of damaging their health or value. True, there is no false sentimentality, unlike the way most people in the so-called “civilized”, first world countries like to imagine that the meat wrapped in plastic and gleaming in all its antiseptic glory in the supermarket somehow was not the product of a living creature that suffered and died to feed us. Indeed, I am sure that these animals in the Zaachila market lived a more humane life and will have most likely a more humane death than the factory farms and killing machines our meat production methods would have given them.

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