chapter  4
A Pig’s Life
Pages 22

The Falaise pig-killing comes from the earliest days of the civilising process Elias examines, and yet one of the remarkable features is the exceptional restraint involved. Animal trials are unthinkable, but animal rights are not, because modern systems of classification rest on different rules than those which informed the understanding of the worthies of Falaise. The Falaise pig-executioners inflicted pain on the pig; the squeals of the animal were an audible representation of the reimposition of order on the world. The trial was not unique; animal trials were a frequent occurrence in Europe until the middle and end of the eighteenth century. For Evans the fact that animal trials ceased during the eighteenth century would be entirely accidental. The broad thesis that can be extracted from Evans's work is that animal trials attempted to reassert the immutable order of the world and the primacy of humanity in the God-ordained scheme.