For the last five weeks or so, CurrentTV has been airing a BBC documentary called Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. It follows six volunteers as they raise livestock, pick out the choice ones to be slaughtered, either watch the livestock be slaughtered or slaughter the livestock themselves, butcher the meat, and then consume it. It is a not an easy series to watch and typing that makes me feel like a hypocrite because I am a carnivore. As a carnivore, I should be able to watch something be slaughtered because I eat meat. I was raised in a traditional Italian family, eating meat is part of our heritage and I do enjoy the taste of it. However, this series has opened my eyes and is making me change my eating habits regarding meat. What makes this series groundbreaking, in my eyes, is that they show the comparison between farms that practice humane slaughtering methods and commercial farming.
After viewing this series, I’m going to make it a priority that when I live on my own again, that I won’t buy meat unless I know that it was raised at a farm that practiced humane slaughter. I realize that it’s going to be a little more expensive but seeing the commercial slaughtering methods make me sick. For example, on commercial chicken farms, they are either caged or they’re cage free with barely enough room to move because they’re sharing their pen space with hundreds of other chickens. Their only purpose is to eat so that they can fatten up until they reach the age of six weeks old. They are at an adult weight and they can barely support themselves because they still have the body of a young chick. When it comes time for slaughter, they are hung by their feet on a conveyor belt with hundreds of other chickens. Just viewing that scene makes your stomach want to turn but it gets worse. They are then dipped into a vat of water, where an electric current will travel through to stun them and render them brain dead. That’s if the chicken didn’t resist and bend its neck in such a way where it avoided the water electrocution. Depending on the particular load on the conveyor belt, it may take some time until they are then sent off to a beheading machine. Those chickens who managed to avoid the water electrocution will be beheaded alive.
It’s a little bit different on a farm that practices humane slaughter. First off, I wish I lived near the British farm that they feature in the show because if I had the choice, I would buy meat from there all the time. For example, with their chickens, they raise them free range, and they treat them so well that they even let them take dust baths! They won’t slaughter the chickens until they reach the age of three months old. When they slaughter, they don’t stick them on conveyor belts, instead they take one chicken at a time, stun it with a gun which will render it brain dead, and then once the farmer is certain that the chicken is stunned properly, the farmer will then slit the chicken’s throat.
The series also investigates what is in fast food- we’ve all heard that fast food is full of grain filler and water. That never stopped me from eating it. It wasn’t until I saw random chicken parts blended with water and grain filler that I’ve made a pledge not to eat fast food anymore. If I’m going to pay money for food- I’d rather it be for something that truly nourishes me AND respects the animal that died for the meal.
When my roommate and I finally move into our humble abode, I can’t wait to go grocery shopping and go on the search for humanely raised and handled meat. We are fortunate enough to have a wonderful co-op located not to far and I found out that Price Chopper’s store brand, Central Market, actually sells humanely raised and handled meat. Also, ever since I’ve viewed the series, I don’t eat as much meat as I used to. For example, I used to love going to Bombers and devouring a burrito. Now- I can’t bring myself to do it anymore. Now when I eat out, I find myself gravitating towards the vegetarian or the seafood options unless it specifically states that the meat was humanely raised and handled.
We shall see. This is a new lifestyle but I’ve felt so much better, physically and mentally, ever since I started paying more attention to where my food is sourced.