In this vicious satire of the religious and political powers of Belgium, Ensor shows five figures defecating into the open mouths of an eager crowd. King Leopold II sits in the centre, with a gendarme and a gentleman to his right, and a priest and bishop to his left. The King and his accomplices hold signs depicting the reform demands of the Belgian worker’s unions such as Suffrage universel (Universal suffrage), Service personnel (National Service) and Enseignement obligatoire (Compulsory Education). Belgium was in social turmoil during this time as a result of the new pressures arising from the Industrial Revolution. Ensor was well aware of the plight of the industrial worker and, in this piece, is unflinching in his criticism of Belgian authority, and the gullibility of those sections of society who supported the status quo. The first plate of Alimenation doctrinaire was damaged in the etching, and Ensor then copied the subject in reverse. Perhaps because the views expressed were so contentious, few impressions appear to have been printed. Later in life, when, as a celebrated artist he received a baronetcy from King Albert I, Ensor actively sought out and withdrew as many impressions as he could find from circulation and destroyed the plate, making this print one of the rarest in his oeuvre.