“Horror after Horror”: Eat Local, Kill Local, Part III

So, one of my posts on backyard slaughtering seems to have started a small brushfire of opposition. The usual insults: I’m a moron, a supporter of factory farming, and, as a result, deserve to die a slow, protein-deficit-induced death alongside my fellow vegans. Discourse!

To clarify, my intention in drawing upon published blogs to highlight the dangers of backyard slaughtering is to support my contention that this method of raising animals is rife with potential problems. I have made it clear that I respect people for taking charge of their food supply. But by no means is backyard slaughtering an adequate solution to the horros of factory farming. My own solution could not be more clear: we should not raise animals, say we care for them, and kill them for food. Is this such a radical proposition?

Just today, a response by an urban farmer chastised me (well, she actually threatened to butcher me) for suggesting that the horrors of raising animals for food are hardly unique to factory farming.  I took a moment to read further on this person’s blog and, lo, here’s what I find from June 2011:

Morning report sucks ass today.

 Good morning all I wish I had better news but this is life on the farm. We lost turkey chicks to the unseasonable rain yesterday, sad but once the turkey Mothers let their baby’s get wet they have little chance at survival.

This morning started out with coffee the news and a warm bed kitty, scott was still snoring. All was well in inside the house not even a dead rat to step on. At 8:00 I went out to let out the horde and I discovered horror after horror.

I let out the chickens in the big barn then opened the West wing and smelled blood. That is never a good thing as I have never seen a chicken get a period. I figured someone got a cut from sneaking thru the wire  to the big barn. NOT SO MUCH I opened the turkey/chicken pullet crate and just about fainted and threw up. Terrified chicks covered in their siblings blood. Missing heads,wings and legs. The mangled and half dead struggling in bloody filth while getting trampled by the terrified living.. Hang on I gotta cry for a bit….. I grabbed up the survivors thinking I could “save” them by sticking them in the brooder where they could dry off and warm up that is when I discovered I was holding one with no leg and the other had no wing. As sad as it is I got a pair of Felco #2 garden cutters and took off their heads to stop their suffering. I stomped upstairs and announced that “everything is fucked on the farm” Scott sans coffee and pants looked stricken. I blamed him he blamed me. You know marriage….

I will spend the day looking for how the bastard got in. As well as being a true farm tragedy this also a substantial monetary loss.  Anyone want to come and help me dig a mass grave and hold a funeral? Why does the word funeral have “fun” in it?

Over and over again backyard bird keepers tell me I have no idea what I’m talking about. But, you see, they’re the ones doing all the talking. And it’s bloody disturbing.



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.

19 Responses to “Horror after Horror”: Eat Local, Kill Local, Part III

  1. Carolle says:

    As always I find McWilliams’ blog interesting and look forward to reading it every day. Thank you!

  2. evrenseven says:

    Wow, that argument was a giant non sequitor… you opened with a premise about the butchering of animals for food; and concluded with being against… natural predation of a prey animal by a predator? You realize the urban farmers weren’t the ones that did that, right? However, I have seen that vegans insist their cats also be fed a vegan diet, and that “food fascists” spread lies about cats’ dietary requirements.

    If you’re going to attack urban farming/ animal raising for consumption, you need to present evidence of mistreatment of animals during the raising or slaughtering process. I understand you’re against the eating of animals in any context, and on that point there’s a fundamental philosophical disagreement that will never be resolved. However, if you want your viewpoint respected, you have to bring the proper argument. Lamenting the fact that chicks were killed by some predator animal… that doesn’t really affect the discourse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Natural predation it is not. A farmed animal that is kept in an enclosure has no power to defend itself or escape. A farmed animal is also genetically modified to be a more efficient “producer” which basically undoes any naturally occuring evolutionary advantage.

      This is most definitely the farmers fault.

  3. Rachel says:

    What you fail to acknowledge is that this happens in rural areas just as much, if not more, often. But I forgot, you don’t want anyone raising animals for meat unless it’s a “professional” which you have stated time and time again – which is why it’s hard to believe that you aren’t supporting factory farming. In case you forgot, here are a few examples:

    “As I wrote here last year, an Illinois egg producer generating 800,000+ eggs a day never had an issue with salmonella. The owner understood the importance of precautionary testing and was meticulous about sanitation. He was industrial and clean–a seeming oxymoron in today’s discussions of agribusiness. This observation should in no way condone the welfare nightmare of factory farming, but it does remind us that, for all the horrors therein, it can be an efficient place to produce eggs safe for human consumption….As I see it, the drawbacks of eating backyard eggs far outweigh the benefits.”

    “Inexpertly killed animals suffer immensely. Better to keep this ugly process confined to slaughterhouses kept at a “graceful distance.”

    “Perverse as it may be, keeping systematic slaughter at bay (and in big slaughterhouses) allows us to live in convenient denial. ”

    “the animal suffers more than it would had it been killed in a large-scale slaughterhouse, which–weird as it sounds–has become more “humane” as a result of the work of people such as Temple Grandin.”

    Of course some of your quotes are followed by “this doesn’t mean I support factory farming” or something similar but that’s like starting a sentence with “I’m not a racist or anything, but…”

  4. Thanks again for the free press! I went fishing today caught and KILLED THE SHIT OUT OF a 19″ sea bass off of the Marin rod and gun club pier. You can check my blog for photos and bloody details later. How cool I got to catch dinner for my family. We will have a garden fresh tomato and house made mozzarella salad along with whole, salt-crusted baked sea bass. YUM! I really have to laugh at the thought of racoons being “my fault.” You are really off base and have proven with this desperate post that you in fact are an idiot. Do keep stalking me. I could not be more pleased.

  5. I heard a rumor? Did you block Cassie or impede her blogging in some way?
    She may not be to your taste, but she appeals to myself and countless others on FB, her newsletter, her blogs… She is bold, in your face and says what she needs to say. It may not always be agreeable, but at least she had the balls to say it. What you don’t know is how sensitive she is and how much she cares about & loves the animals that she keeps, and yes, eventually may butcher and eat.
    I read some of your stuff. And bless you, really, but how do you write it without dozing off? You use a lot of pretty words and seems your big on overdescription, but I had to skim to get an idea of what exactly your point was! In contrast, I read Cassie’s stuff and I laugh, I tear up, I am completely engrossed. She has said things I find offensive or harsh, but I just skip it and go on to the next line.
    In the end its all about tolerance and allowing readers to make their own decisions.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope you know that the way animals who are raised in factories are treated so horribly that it should be illegal to eat them. I believe that Cassie is doing a great thing.
    P.S. Your removing her comments removes her right to free speech!

  7. Tim says:

    Thank you so much James, for helping to raise awareness on behalf of the voiceless. The backlash will always be intense as people will go to great lengths attempting to rationalize the despicable violence they practice and/or support. Thank you very much for all you do, and please don’t waste too much of your emotional energy on the haters, you are selflessly making an incredibly positive difference during your time here on the planet, and that’s what counts.

  8. Pingback: News for October 5, 2011 : From A to Vegan

  9. emily says:

    Thank you again, James.
    I don’t know what you could possibly say to get through to people who claim to be caring for animals but let them die in such gruesome ways. Things like not providing predator and escape proof enclosures, ignorance of animals’ health and natural behaviors, and not allowing access to the most basic of veterinary care are eggregious failures of these caretakers. There are enough examples of these horrifying deaths on these horrifying blogs that have nothing to do with the eventual slaughter. Not only are they inhumane slaughterers, they are inhumane caretakers.

  10. Please enjoy my new blog post: What a properly butchered Vegan should look like.


  11. Provoked says:

    I agree that this back-yard, hobby-butchering is an abomination! But you gave these animal-killing folks way too much attention. I hardly think they’re worth it.

    After all… Can anyone really criticize the way a vegan dresses – While they’re wearing pink and cammo? What a fashion FAIL – And the lack of compassion is uglier still.

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