Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Killing Chickens

A few months ago, I tried to kill some chickens, but failed.

How's that? Did the chickens get the better of me? Did they run away? Did I have a last-minute change of heart?

None of the above. I showed up at Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds for the 11AM shift on one of their slaughter days, and the birds had all been slaughtered by the time I got there. So instead of killing chickens, I spent a few hours sorting hearts and livers into plastic containers, along with the occasional kidney, while keeping a keen eye out for gall bladders, which, if punctured or crushed, could ruin whatever meat they came into contact with.

I was reminded of this experience because I just read an article by Jennifer Reese, The Tipsy Baker, entitled What I Learned When I Killed A Chicken (with some great photos, linked here). It describes what happened when she bought some chicks to be layers, and one of them grew up to be a rooster, which she decided to eat. She does not experience any kind of spiritual revelation as a result of killing her own meat. Perhaps I was hoping she would.

When I eventually succeed in killing a chicken, I'll certainly share my thoughts.


Anonymous said...

lol "arlene soup"

I could handle the actual act of killing & then preparing the animal for all the different dishes, however messy it is, but I'm not sure what to think about how one minute the thing is walking around and doing cute & funny chicken things and the next its lying there dead.

There is the act of killing and the fact of killing, which is that the animals whole, happy life has come to an end by my hand.

Should this inspire some kind of spiritual revelation? I don't know but I wouldn't feel right without a bit of spiritual contemplation during the meal.

Cya, christie

Alex Lewin said...

Christie, yes, I am with you on that.

Other beings must die in order for us to eat. It is a fact, even for vegetarians and vegans. Fields of grain and vegetables were almost certainly once forests full of animals; and who knows how many field mice and worms get killed by harvesters and threshers.

Taking an animal from infancy to stockpot provides a great potential opportunity for reflection on the way of all things.