Sunday, August 2, 2009

Butchering 101

Hindus believe that every living organism has a soul; from the greatest of whales, to a blade of grass, to the microscopic, single-cell amoeba.  It took me a few sessions of weeding to accept the fact that in order to keep my garden full of vegetables, I must suffer the karmic consequences of killing any weeds, bugs or larvae that may try to destroy my plants.
I'm now quite comfortable slicing wire worms in half, crunching the hard shells of Colorado potato beetles against garden stones, and squishing their colourful offspring between my bare fingers.  There's a sadistic sense of satisfaction in destroying these pests once you've seen what they do to the eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.

On July 22nd, I experienced something a little different.  150 meat chickens were shipped to the butcher, with the exception of 2 ladies that we had to kill at the farm due to a broken wing and immobility.  Meat chickens are bread to eat themselves to death.  It's quite sad to see and I wish I could say that I've become a vegetarian from the experience but I'm not that strong.

I warned onlookers that I may shed a tear or two behind the lens of Jonny's camera.  Christine, the butcher, expressed the same sentiments and confessed that it had been 25 years since she had to do this at home.  In the end, there were no tears and the whole experience was like a trip back in time to OAC biology class.  I could identify many of the organs and recognized that familiar smell of carcass, minus the formaldehyde.

The pictures are a bit graphic so I took them off the blog, saving those of you with weak stomachs from unnecessary discomfort.  I assure you that the killing was done in a sensitive and humane way.  The birds didn't suffer because they were knocked out with a quick blow to the head before their throats were sliced and the blood drained from their twitching bodies.  Large-scale slaughterhouses don't always have "home delivery" services or "relaxation rooms" where the animals can rest after they have been traumatically removed from their homes and transported to their new temporary home.  The animals in such situations produce stress hormones that circulate through their bodies and create an acidic environment, evidently causing the meat to become contaminated.  Yummy.

New baby chickies, 1 day old

Still babies at 6-7 weeks old and looking like adults 
Hot water dip makes removing feathers much easier

Note: The farmer kept these chickens for her own consumption and did not share them with anyone else.


  1. Awesome, albeit disturbing, post!

  2. I am actually surprised at how undisturbed I am by these photos. After seeing plenty of photographs of inhumane factory farm practices, I'd say that these are actually a relief to behold.
    Thanks for posting your experience, Daizy! See you in a couple weeks time.. Can't wait! Erin

  3. Those are some sexy chickens! Watch out for the dancing ones with top hats.