As I was driving to town yesterday to get some hay I passed a familiar scene. There was a steer in a pen with a generous heap of hay to eat while his field companion looked on from the near distance.
I’ve watched these two steers since they were weanlings. They contently wandered the field eating at their pasture. They had no idea was to happen next as the mobile slaughter truck backed up to the pen. One of them was going away forever.
I’ve seen slaughter before and I’ve done it myself. There is a certain attitude of reverence that anyone who does this must have. We want it to go down without trauma.
Mobile slaughter is probably the best way to go since your animal isn’t jostled and hauled away long distances and have to line up in a death march with hundreds of other animals. Instead it is given its last meal and handled respectfully. It is all over in an instant.
Cows are herd animals, so I’m sure his field mate will be upset tonight. We had to put a horse down two years ago. Horses are also herd animals. My horse who was her companion was upset for several days. It was more of a worry than a grieving. My horse was present when we put her down, but seemed to keep wondering why her friend wasn’t returning and calling out for her every once in a while.
Even the slaughter of chickens can be non traumatic. Rather than the old way of using an axe and a chopping block and having the chicken run around without its head, we now use killing cones. These are cone shaped metal containers that is either suspended by legs or bolted to a building or fence. You place the chicken in the cone head first. Its body is cradled by the wide part of the cone and its head and neck protrude through the opening on the small end pointing downward. This position seems to calm the chicken down. Then one takes a very sharp knife and in one fast cut the chicken in beheaded and left in the cone to bleed out.
Back to the steer mentioned above, as I returned home nearly a half hour later with my load of hay the slaughter truck was already leaving the farm. Within that half hour that steer was killed and on the rack in the truck. The job was finished and the steer was off to be butchered.
I have a lot of respect for people who can do that sort of work. Though it may become routine for someone after a while in that profession; I always see them act professionally, gently and most of all compassionately.
The next time you eat meat, please consider where it came from. There was once a living creature who gave its all just so you may be nourished.