“We Just Want to Kill a Chicken”: Backyard Slaughtering Gets National Attention
March 9, 2012 5 Comments
Photograph by Jake Stangel for Bloomberg Businessweek
As I’ve written here (and elsewhere) before, one of the worst ideas to emerge from the locavore trend is the idea that urbanites should be allowed to keep and slaughter their own farm animals. Cities in early America–most notably New York–dedicated considerable space in their eighteenth-century legislative books to keeping animals out of dense urban centers. The reasons were as sensible then as they are now: concerns about disease, public health, and quality of life. Why anyone would want to reverse this trend is beyond me. But people do.
The slaughterers’ guru is Novella Carpenter, pictured above. In Oakland, Carpenter and a rabid core of urban DIY animal killers have been crusading for the “right” to butcher chickens, ducks, rabbits, and even goats in their backyards. Their efforts have sparked scores of well-documented botched slaughters, not to mention a raging culinary culture war, with Ian Elwood, of Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter, leading the opposition.
Ian and I worked several months ago to push this issue into the national media, coming very close to convincing a producer at a major news outlet that this was worth a segment. Alas, the idea didn’t stick. It was thus with considerable pleasure that I learned Bloomberg Businessweek covered the issue in a piece published yesterday. Not only is Carpenter photographed in a way that makes her look chillingly indifferent to the dead animal in her hand, but her words reflect her appearance. She’s quoted as saying, “We don’t want to open up a slaughterhouse in the backyard, we just want to kill a chicken.” Just want to kill a chicken.
Too bad Carpenter wasn’t able to attend the Conscious Eating Conference, held at Berkeley’s student union a few weeks ago. There she would have had an opportunity to learn, among other things, that the chicken does not want to be killed, and that there are many decent humanswho, liberated from speciesism, will fight very hard to prevent that from happening.