until you are packed into
a ghetto moving
to the killing floor
you are baptized
into a traumatic dying
My good friend, Alison, is away at the moment, so instead of today's rant, you get a poem and an article instead. I wanted to write something she would approve of, that could be rant-worthy, so I chose to post this poem about slaughterhouses and how inhumane they can be. I am not a vegetarian, but it is painfully obvious that the way in which we raise and kill our meat is barbaric. The whole experience of the animals in question would be overwhelmingly negative and unpleasant in my opinion. Feedlots, chicken barns, hog farms... Our livestock live in crammed, dense spaces, often force fed and almost never given any type of access to any activities that would enrich their lives. It must be hell.
Many years ago, I worked at the Fletcher's meat packing plant. It was the worst job I ever had. The hogs we processed were abused before and after their deaths, prodded with electric sticks into metal conveyers where they were electrically shocked into submission before they were chained, hung upside-down, only to have their throats slit. The animals were clearly aware of their unfortunate fate and were subsequently terrified. As a side note, what would killing 5000 animals a day for years have on one's psyche?
It is for this reason that I feel Halal butchering processes are much more humane. While I am not Muslim and do not know much about Halal practices, the little I do know is impressive. For example, I have heard that in order for meat to be Halal, the animals must be slaughtered one at a time, with no exposure to or foreknowledge of their upcoming death. Not only does this affect the quality of the meat, as there are less stress hormones in the muscle mass, it is merciful to the animal itself. Why are we not implementing this mass mercy?
I support people who choose to be vegetarian as a protest against animal cruelty. I support people who choose to eat Halal meat, Islamic or not, for the same reasons. So often we pat ourselves on the back for being humane and aware. This is self-deception. We can and should do better.