- The foal in a can factory -
written and illustrated by Carpdime
Breeding sector 5, pod 27, breeder number 1.
The yellow mare groaned and squirmed as she could feel her babies come out. She tried to turn around to see them for one last time before they disappeared forever but her leg stumps where she was amputated gave her no leverage. She dipped her head in resignation, it was not the first time, heck it was not even the tenth time but each time it happened it tore her apart.
Each time a foal came out, she could hear a small splat as it hit the collection funnel followed by a frantic chirping sound that descended into nothing as the foal dropped into the jar below. The last foal that came out bore a light green coat of fluff that resembled the flesh of an avocado. It’s weak chirping was all that the mare ever experienced from its babies.
When the other breeding mares in the same pod were done with their birthing, one of the summer interns detached the pod and poured the foals it into a trolley. Before he left, he reattached the jar and cleaned the collection funnel with an industrial cleaner. As the intern moved onto the next pod, sometimes the lucky mares get to see for the last time the fruits of their labor all mixed together in the trolley. However the yellow mare was not so lucky, her position on the breeding pod meant she never saw anything but the anguish on the faces of the other mares in the other pods.
When he was done collecting the fresh foals, the intern wheels the trolley to the sorting room and deposits the foals onto the sorting tables. Seasoned sorters sat around the table and mechanically checked each foal for stillbirths, defects or bad colors. The sorters are brutally efficient, taught to err on the side of caution. Because of this, slow reacting foals are treated as stillbirths and are discarded.
The discard bin became fuller and fuller as the work day wore on. Live and dead foals were all thrown in together, urine and feces soiled the bottom of the bin, unlucky foals at the bottom drowned in the foul sludge that was formed. It was simply too inefficient for the sorter to kill the foal before discarding. A trial was done where sorters were told to cull foals by crushing the skull before discarding. It was found that this increased the processing time by 2 seconds, almost double the time it took to sort a foal.
The little green foal was grabbed from the pile of chirping, defecating foals awaiting sorting. His reacted to the squeezing and had a good, even coat of green fluff so he was thrown into the tray of foals that passed, ready for processing.
When the tray was full, it was slid to the next workstation where the foals were prepared for canning. At each processing stage, the foal could still be discarded for various reasons.
If the waste plug could not be inserted properly due to a clenched anal passage, it was more cost effective to throw away the foal instead of retrying.
If the foal struggled during the polish spraying and an uneven coat was applied as a result, it was a discard.
If the foal spat out the sample formula that it was fed from a dropper, it was better to discard since it was unlikely to feed from the milk reserve inside the can which was a high risk factor for death during display in the vending machine.
Luckily for our little green foal, he got through processing without issue and was thrown into a large barrel. By this stage the little foal was highly stressed and confused. None of the procedures it was put through was consistent with the natural needs and experience of a newborn fluffy. Before it could processed everything that has happened, a vacuum tube descended onto the foals and one by one they were sucked into a network of clear piping that fed into the canning machine.
The tube fed each foal into the awaiting can. As the conveyor belt of newly foaled cans marched down the line, a can lid was pressed onto the open end. Our little green foal peeped and chirped for comfort. It never knew its mother, its distraught and traumatized mother never sang it any mummah songs. On the can next to it, the unfortunate foal was placed awkwardly onto the rim of the can by the vacuum tube. When the lid came down, it bisected the little foal. Its dying scream haunted the dreams of the little green foal for the next few days that it spent sitting inside a vending machine outside a seedy convenient store…