19 February 2010

Can You Kill the Chicken?

In some cities, organic farmers are cult heroes, photographed for magazines and name-dropped on restaurant menus. Boomers flock to pasture tours while their Ivy League kids vie for farm internships. But the most unusual manifestation is the emergence of the slaughter-your-own-animal workshop. At more than a dozen farms across the nation, a small fee (usually $15 to $40) buys the opportunity to butcher your very own chicken, turkey or rabbit. _SmartMoney

Most people buy their meat, fowl, and fish at the supermarket, already dead and butchered. But what if you had to kill the chicken, and butcher it. Could you do it?

There are workshops available where for a small fee you can go to learn if you have the right stuff for cutting throats, putting a shotgun to an animal's skull, or otherwise shuffling off the critter's mortal coil. Then you butcher the carcass.

On the web you can learn to butcher pigs, or chickens, or rabbits, and probably just about any other animal that requires butchering prior to eating.

Do you think you could do it?
Even the most philosophical students can be surprised by their own hesitation. New York cheesemonger Laura Heifetz felt confident until she had the knife in her hand. Suddenly, she was struck with what she now refers to as a “weird dichotomy”—she didn’t mind killing the chicken, but she didn’t want to hurt it. Bellingham, Wash., food-bank coordinator Max Morange arrived at a pig-processing workshop thinking he’d slit the animal’s throat. It wasn’t until he got a look at the 300-pound porker that he realized the truth: “Pigs don’t really have necks.” He had to shoot the pig with the farmer’s shotgun and before pulling the trigger felt a flash of doubt. “I had to question whether this was a fair arrangement.” _SmartMoney

In a survival situation, you will probably be under a lot of stress. The more necessary things that you are already somewhat prepared to do, the better. For any difficult situation, it is always better to be overtrained. That is the secret of competent survivors like Sully Sullenberger -- get yourself overtrained well in advance of the crisis.

This is also an issue in politics, where voters tend to elect person's on the basis of everything except whether he is actually overtrained and overexperienced for the job. Green rookies in positions of responsibility can make a horrible mess. They are unlikely to be competent to clean up their own messes, either.

Be over-prepared.

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Blogger CarlBrannen said...

I just finished the fascinating book on the history of vegetarianism, "The Bloodless Revolution" by Tristam Stuart. Before the discovery of India, westerners thought that meat was necessary to survive. The whole thing gets into the 400 year history of the foundations of vegetarianism and ecology as well as religion. (I.e. not just Adam and Eve, but all man up to the Flood were vegetarians.)

Friday, 19 February, 2010  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Whatever. We slaughter some of our own livestock; some we send off for the convenience of somebody else doing the work of cutting it up and wrapping it.

Never heard of anybody slaughtering livestock with a shotgun blast to the head before. Rifle, yes. Handgun, yes. Shotgun, no.

Friday, 19 February, 2010  
Blogger tammy said...

We have a farm of chicken, cows, and goats and I can't eat what I've took care for months. I just buy meat on the market, and we just sell this animals to buyers. I can't even kill them myself.

where to buy le creuset?

Saturday, 20 February, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

"The more necessary things that you are already somewhat prepared to do, the better. For any difficult situation, it is always better to be overtrained."

Truer words were never spoke. And if you consider for a moment, they apply in many areas beyond food on the table. I still ponder why the sailors on watch at the guns of the USS Cole failed to fire.

Saturday, 20 February, 2010  
Blogger Scott Freeman Sitecore MVP said...

As a heavy meat eater, this is a question I have asked myself many times. My conculsion was that I couldn't do it unless it was absolutely needed to survive. Killing just doesn't seem to fit my personality. If we moved to a scenario where everyone must kill their own food - I wonder how many meat eaters switch to vegan.

NJ Wedding Photographer

Saturday, 20 February, 2010  
Blogger read it said...

Um, usually the slaughterhouse pays you to kill the critters. This slaughter workshop is like something dreamed up by a present day Tom Sawyer. The whole reason we have slaughter houses is specifically because we don't want to do the job. Yes, I get the point of knowing how to do stuff just in case you have to. Still the workshop seems bassakwards.

Saturday, 20 February, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It the middle east, the caucuses, and other less developed regions, this is the norm. I would kill a chicken, no problem, but cows and other big game, no thanks. I only eat chicken and fish for health reasons anyway. Tissue engineering or formulating a protein source as good as meat will save a lot from going to waste in the form of feed and water. Anyway, I would go vegetarian, but I have a fear of muscle wasting and bouts of weakness, which maybe is unfounded, but people eat too much meat these days, and that is just plain overkill.

Saturday, 20 February, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boomers flock to pasture tours while their Ivy League kids vie for farm internships.

That is just ridiculous, just wow.

Thursday, 25 February, 2010  

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