Slaughter house rules

The thin slime of dissolved animal flesh that coated every surface of grandpa’s slaughterhouse was occasionally thick enough to skate on in boots. Working for grandpa was often grueling and always fascinating.

Grandpa as young man starting career peddling flesh.

There are few experiences as satisfying as pressure washing brains out of the foramina magna of steaming cattle skulls. The force of the jet of water streaming from his industrial hose is enough to knock you backward if you’re unprepared. Watching the plane of connective tissue give way in webbed strings as I pulled a muscle away from a cold-cured carcass did not give me insight into the meaning of life… but man was it cool!

When social commentators bemoan that children have no appreciation of where food comes from, I am flooded with images of calves sucking greedily from enormous bottles, echoes of bellowing cattle being prodded onto the kill floor, clanging metal gates slamming closed in a concrete echo-chamber, and the satisfying smell of gunpowder wafting from the stun rod, mingling with fresh blood pouring from dissected carotid arteries. Maybe this is why gorey movies seem to bother me less than my comrades.

My past has become quaint.

Dr. O

There is a foggy duel between those who claim that exposure to this kind of “violence” numbs a person to their natural moral charges versus those who claim that the lack of such exposure distorts one’s moral compass with a gigantic dose of ignorant self-righteousness. Maybe there is a little truth in both. Maybe they’re both way off track. What is true is that there is little left of those kinds of experiences outside ginormous facilities, and I’m not really sure what to think about that. My past has become quaint.

A bison on the kill floor, not long for this world.

I will continue to eat meat, but I’m no crusader for flesh consumption. It’s economically and ecologically rather expensive. As an earth, we eat too much meat. Our resources are consumed in kind. Never has there been so much ravenous meat consumption on the planet. It comes at a huge cost to ecosystems.

Still, I have no moral problem with eating flesh. We are a bit beyond glutenous about it, though. But our gluttony is not meat specific. We are gluttons for transportation, entertainment, and news: most of which is unnecessary, and all of which has an impact on our planet both locally and globally. But I’m not getting rid of my car, TV, or news feed anytime soon either.

But I will admit, it’s time to seriously consider more recipes for sweet potatoes and fewer bacon-stuffed lard-fried chicken breasts.

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