The Dissociation in Louisville’s Butchertown Neighborhood – How I Left Feeling Uneasy

A few months ago, I visited Louisville.  It was the first time I truly explored the city that is only three hours north of me. Much like Indiana, I grew up going to Kentucky A LOT as a child.  We have lots of family in both states so visits consisted of just visiting family so I never really explored either state.  Well, in the past two months, I’ve visited both Indianapolis and Louisville and fell in love with both cities and finally feel like I can say I’ve been there.  I had literally only 24 hours in Louisville so I made the most of my time and was running around like crazy most of the time.  The first thing I did after grabbing a quick breakfast was head to Copper & Kings Distillery for a quick tour in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood.  More on that later though!

As I was walking out of Copper & Kings, I noticed some beautiful murals across the way and so I started walking over to take some photos.  Then I realized there were more and more murals and so I kept walking around this little area that seemed like an old manufacturing area because of the old train tracks and building styles.  I came to this mural and at first glance, it’s gorgeous.  So full of color and amazing designs but then I noticed it said ‘Butchertown’ on it and there was a pig and then it hit me like a brick wall.

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I was standing only feet away from accidentally walking into a pig slaughterhouse.  The second I realized it, I recognized the smell in the air.  I had thought it was weird but couldn’t place it.  It was the stagnant smell of death.  I noticed the name of the plant and quickly realized where I had heard it from.  It all came together in a matter of seconds.  Then a flood of emotions came with it.  Here I was wandering around an area that I just thought had beautiful murals like it was nothing when just a few feet away, terrible things were happening inside those walls.

It was then that I started noticing all of the pig art.  It was almost as if it was mocking what was happening just a few feet away.  Did people realize that these adorable pigs on the awnings or the beautiful pig mural or the cute little pig statues were what were being unnecessarily slaughtered just inside the plant?  This is what dissociation looks like.

Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Just as you may know eating healthy and going to the gym is good for your health, you likely still eat like crap and hardly work out.  The same is true for how we treat animals.  We know slaughtering and cruelty are not right but we still allow it.  Cognitive dissonance is commonly referred to amongst vegans because it is amazing to see how people seriously disconnect from the animals on their plate vs the cute little cows they see in the field.

I was left feeling nauseous (and not just from the smell).  Everything about the area didn’t sit right with me.  What was a beautiful mural turned into something so ugly in my eyes.  It wasn’t until I started doing some research to write this that I learned the mural was actually commissioned by JBS.  They were arrogant enough to commission artists to take an ugly wall and make it beautiful knowing good and well that what they were doing inside was the ugliest thing of all.

I quickly left the area, got in my car and drove to my next stop.  The whole time thinking in disbelief of what I saw, messaged a few of my friends for support who I knew would understand the feelings I was having, gathered my thoughts and decided to come back the next morning before I left Louisville to get some more photos.  I knew I had to write something about this.

Now, you may be thinking a few things :

  • “Wow, I knew vegans were crazy. I’m never reading any of this lady’s stuff again.”
  • “They’re just pigs.”
  • “It’s just a damn mural – get over yourself.”
  • “What the hell are you talking about?”

I understand your thought process.  A little over a year ago I probably would have had the same but hear me out and read some statistics and facts below.  After you’re done here, go and do some more research on your own about factory farming, watch Earthlings and read up on cognitive dissonance and veganism.




  • 9.95 million pigs were slaughtered in the US just last month according to the USDA
  • 120 million pigs (rough estimate based on above number) are killed annually in the US
  • 97% of pigs are raised in slaughterhouses – never seeing the sunshine or touching grass



  • 10,500 pigs are slaughtered PER DAY
  • Has received two egregious violations in one year – only 11 of 800 plants to receive two violations in 12 months.
    • An inspector saw a live hog standing on what’s called the “bleed table.” The hog “was stumbling and trying to walk through a pile of approximately eight hogs that had been stunned but were piled up at the end of the bleed table,” the notice said. An inspector then saw a JBS employee with a gun that shoots bolts chasing the live hog through the pile of dead hogs, until the live hog fell into a gap along the wall of the building, where it got trapped and was shot.
    • An inspector reported seeing two workers wrestling with a hog, and trying three times but failing to kill it with the bolt gun. On the fourth try, they were successful.
  • JBS has been hit with odor fines by the city on several occasions.


  • Pigs are smarter than dogs
  • Pigs are as smart as three year old children
  • Pigs are actually very clean animals – never soiling the area they sleep or eat in.
  • Pigs are very social animals
  • Pigs don’t sweat (despite the term “sweating like a pig”)

So, while some people might be okay with plastering the area around a slaughterhouse with “cute” artwork of pigs and while Louisville might be celebrating their brand new beautiful mural, I’m left wondering…

how is slaughtering almost 11,000 of my friends every. single. day. worth celebrating?

Since my first visit to Butchertown, Louisville Pig Save has formed and I’ve been lucky enough to take part in one of their vigils. Louisville Pig Save is part of the larger organization, The Save Movement, in which individuals gather to bear witness to animals at the last moments of their lives.

For more information, check out Lousiville Pig Save on their Facebook page and The Save Movement here.

Here is how pigs should be treated and celebrated//

Visiting The Gentle Barn in Tennessee Visiting The Gentle Barn in Tennessee Visiting The Gentle Barn in Tennessee Visiting The Gentle Barn in Tennessee

Have you ever come across something that just didn’t sit right with you?  Are you interested in learning more about a vegan lifestyle?  Leave a comment or shoot me a message!


Ashley Hubbard

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Lauren

    “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

    Painting pretty pictures on things distracts us from what’s going on inside. Most people like it that way. There’s a reason we call it “pork” and “bacon” and not “pig”. “Beef” and not “cow”. A pig is a living, breathing animal…much like our pet dog, cat, or…us.

    Painting pretty artwork of pastoral scenes of farms where the animals all roam free happily is a way to distract us from an industry that is cruel. Ultimately, it’s a factory of murder that cuts corners to keep up with the huge demand that we have to eat animals as the main portion of every meal.

    Thank you for suggesting that we question things. That we look beyond the exterior and the pretty drawings to what it truly represents. Once our eyes are opened, it’s hard to shy away from this inhumane reality.

  2. Ken

    I live here! Did you for once in your visit ASK a neighbor what they are doing about JBS?! Did you know that the neighborhood association pushes for them to move and reports them for every smell and problem they create?!
    Did you research the history of Butchertown and why it is called Butchertown?! We have pig lovers and pork eaters, and we all know each other. We all know the history. We all fight JBS.
    You made an assumption about MY neighborhood and MY neighbors without doing your homework. You can write about your feelings, but don’t misrepresent our neighborhood. I am beyond disappointed in this false perception you’ve created for anyone who follows you.
    I hope you FEEL better.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Ken, I think it’s great that you (and others) are fighting JBS. The whole point of this post was to bring to light that we (humans) have been taught the learned behavior of somehow thinking the adorable pigs we see (in movies, on decor, etc) are different than the ones that are killed for our use. I never said one negative thing about you or your neighbors at all. I wrote about my personal feelings of the area. Having adorable pigs on murals, awnings, statues, etc directly across from a slaughterhouse IS cognitive dissonance. I did NOT misrepresent your neighborhood – I took pictures of what I saw, I wrote exactly what I saw and noticed and nothing more. I didn’t say Butchertown in general was bad or the people were bad – I said that I felt uneasy with what I saw. That’s not misrepresentation. And, to respond to your final statement – no I do not feel better. I will never feel better when the whole inspiration for this post was the fact that my friends are being slaughtered by the thousands every day in this particular facility. I will never apologize for fighting for animals. They are the victims here – not you, not me, not your neighborhood, neighbors or anyone else.

      1. Ken

        But you fight for animals that you eat and post pictures of on Instagram. The pig is our mascot, and we embrace them. We love pigs. JBS is a very powerful force that we can’t move, and we, as neighbors, have spent hundreds of thousands in litigation fighting them. Do you know the bacon you eat cheeseburgers is a pig?! I mean…Even if you recently became vegan, that doesn’t change the fact you knew what animals went through to become food. I don’t get it, but whatever. I’ve spent enough clicks here. Thanks for the reminder that social media keeps track of our many journeys.

        1. Ashley Hubbard

          I’m highly confused by your statements. I don’t eat pigs or any other animal. I haven’t in over a year. Not sure what posts you’re speaking of…unless you went back to April 2016. If you’re saying I can’t fight for animals because I’ve eaten them over a year ago, then I guess no one should ever change? Again, I’ve stated I never tried to hide the fact that I ate meat before I went vegan. It’s an important part of my story. I’m sorry you feel as though that means I can’t advocate for animals now.

        2. Lauren

          Ken: How do you love pigs and also murder them and eat them? I don’t get it. The pig is your mascot…sure it is. Because these animals are an industry to your city and not living creatures? It’s interesting that JBS doesn’t show images of what goes on inside the building…but masks it with images of living pigs. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show pigs in agony, pigs being portrayed as machines, or chopped up bits of meat? Isn’t THAT the more appropriate mascot of your city?

          Do you know the best way to fight JBS? Stop eating pigs! Stop giving them money.

          While someone who doesn’t live there doesn’t know as much about a town as someone who does live there, this is how this area of your city is perceived. This is what someone feels that came to visit your town. And if you really disliked JBS as much as you say you do, you’d be standing alongside Ashley. I don’t get why you’re so opposed to this article.

          It’s also weird that you’re obsessively stalking Ashley’s Instagram going years back. Get a life. She is pretty open about how long she’s been a vegan, and writes about how minds can be changed and how people can learn and grow. Might be good if you took a page out of that book for yourself.

  3. Ken

    I would also like to ask how you can shame Butchertown and our murals, but post pictures of you and your SO on Instagram (thanks for the link!) eating cheeseburgers covered in bacon, sausages,all with bacon/meat loving hashtags?! So. Much. Meat. Please share how you feel about this because I am trying to understand your attack on a place you don’t know while you contradict yourself.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I’ve been vegan for a little over a year. I’ve been blogging for four years. I’ve made the decision to not delete any old posts. While I’m not proud of eating animals in the past or participating in non-vegan activities, I do not see the sense in hiding the past and because I want to show others that someone who ate a large amount of meat and dairy for 29 years can change drastically. Yes, I have eaten cheeseburgers, bacon, sausage and so on. Yes, I used to post things like that. Then, I educated myself on the horrors of what goes on in the meat, dairy and chicken industry and I literally changed my lifestyle overnight and have never looked back. I do not shame others for eating meat because I did for 29 years without knowing better. I only take the information I have now found and my own experiences and share them with others in hopes they too want to better the lives of animals, the planet and their own health.

      I’m assuming you had to go back quite a ways to find any meat/dairy related posts but maybe you should also get all the facts before accusing me and attacking me when I, in no way, attacked you or your neighborhood. Again, this was all about the ANIMALS and shedding light on how we (people in general) are accustomed to seeing things.

  4. Lisa

    I think it’s really important to point out these things that we’ve all been ‘trained’ to look past. Thanks for helping us all be more more aware and more mindful about this HUGE dirty, little secret. 🙁

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