Eat Local, Kill Local: Part II

Food might inspire passion but–as I have just finished reading yet another disturbing account of backyard slaughtering–I’m also convinced it can bring out the absolute worst in an otherwise well-meaning human being. What is it about raising and killing an animal that taps our deepest capacity for self-delusion?  The particular post that has me shaking with anger ends with this earnest call to arms:

Only consumers can change the market.
Make the choice.
Be responsible.
Feel good about the food you eat and where it comes from.

The post is dedicated to teaching urban homesteaders how to “humanely butcher” ducks. But what, I wonder, is “humane” about shoving a live duck head-first into an upside down cone, holding it still, and slitting its throat? Is it humane that, because this woman has not a clue about what she’s doing, two of the ducks “held out for almost 10 minutes with some thrashing and splattering of duck blood”? And is it humane that her response to this botched slaughter was “Good thing i wore old pants and sneakers”?

Is local meat really worth such human degradation?

Then comes this penultimate dose of righteousness: “Just because you may choose not to think about where that meat comes from, or how it was treated when it was a living animal, doesn’t make the frequent mis-management and disrespect of meat animals any less prevalent.” I read this and I’m left to wonder if the food movement hasn’t gone totally Orwellian.

Here’s the link, and be forewarned, the pictures capture some pretty disgusting atrocities:



About James McWilliams
I'm a historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. This blog is dedicated to exploring the ethics of eating animals and animal-based products.

3 Responses to Eat Local, Kill Local: Part II

  1. emily wood says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about these people’s entree’s to this “lifestyle” and their ongoing motivations/justifications, as an Oaklander facing the urban slaughter hobbyist movement headon. I think there’s this space where people really do love animals — farmed animals — but don’t know how to question a culture where they only have one use. Maybe this woman really wanted a yard full of ducks — funny, talkative, curious, cuddly ducks — but the only way she could justify it is in accepting their eventual slaughter. Just typing out loud, but i think this might be a powerful force, and something behind the “connecting with my food” arguement. They want to connect with the animals, but the culturally normal path forces them to disconnent. And this explains the pride and joy i see in their pictures with their still living animals. And makes the disturbing, often joyfully joking explatations and excuses for the deaths more depressing. It is as if they are slicing off little bits of their soul with each throat slit.

  2. Debbie says:

    How can anyone say they love animals and slaughter them? Death does not come easy to anyone, human animal or non-human animal. I agree with Emily, they are “slicing off little bit of their soul with each throat slit”.

    Very sad, very, very sad.

  3. rhinokitty says:

    Indeed Emily. And it isn’t just a general feeling that leads them to this. Many people feel a bond with animals, but organizations such as 4H and Future Farmers of America indoctrinate children from a young age and falsely lead them to believe that the only way to appreciate ducks, chickens and cows is as animals-that-must-become-food.

    Ask any former 4H kid and they will tell you about how they fell in love with their first animal, and how they cried when they sold it for slaughter.

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