The True Cost of Taste

Slaughterhouse Book JacketWhat a week this is turning into. It started off with what I stated, in my previous post. My watching of the documentary, Earthlings. For which I needed to download the transcript, after the fact. It’s bloody near impossible to actually absorb the narration, while having to watch what it was that I witnessed last Saturday.

But next, hoping not to be “outdone” (if such a statement applies), I started to read the book, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, by Gail A. Eisnitz. And, it would appear, it is going to seriously trump all contenders.

Please keep in mind: these are merely my preliminary impressions. Like I said I started it only a couple of days prior to today, but horror of the book is almost immediately “prevalent.” And my feelings right at this very minute are, while being barely 100 pages in (the type is rather large), to comment already…

To the author’s credit, it has, thus far, been very skillfully written. The style seemingly softens the blow, in as much as it “helps” you want to keep reading, versus throwing the fucking book clear across the room. In fact, it reminds me a lot of, Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild. In the way it gets into the brutality, unfairness, and utter absurdity of the story very quickly.

Animal agriculture is an industry rife with tragedy and sadness. The true cost of taste is, most definitely, a high one. But, be that as it may the book, to my shocking surprize, isn’t, at all, what I expected it to be. It’s much worse.

Granted, as a vegan, the typical reasons this book is, at least initially, unsettling were expected and all, unfortunately, present. The stunning, shackling, hoisting, sticking, scalding, and skinning of defenseless animals? All with a significant percentage of the animals being alive, conscious, and fully aware of everything that happening to them before, during, and after a lot of what it really means to consume non-human animal flesh and reproductive secretions? All entirely anticipated.

But what wasn’t expected was the hooking of “crippled,” yet still “feeling,” animals in the mouth and anus in order to be dragged to where they need to go? The beatings with pipes and boards? The stabbing the in the eyes? The mutilations? The animals frozen to shipping trailers upon arrival, then being ripped free, leaving skin or limbs in place?

Which leaves the reason all this even happens: the psychological toll of people working in a slaughterhouse, or much more specifically, “killing things” for a living;

“One time I took my knife—it’s sharp enough—and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just stood there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into it’s nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing his nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt left on my hand—I was wearing a rubber glove—and I stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know whether to shit or go blind…”

Good thing the worker made specific mention of the fact that he wore a “rubber glove” before putting his hand anywhere near a “hog’s” “bunghole.” That could have made him seem disgusting and, dare I say it, demented?

But to be fair, the worker, subsequent to telling Gail the story, admitted “[i]t’s not anything to be proud of.” He even took it a step further a realized “[i]t was my way of taking out frustration” over the realities of such a job and the, apparent, unsafe practices of an entire industry. In so much plant owners are pushing employees at break neck speeds with money essentially every reason for it all?

I wonder what the chances are any of these workers are vegan after seeing what they’ve seen? Or have done what it is they’ve  actually done? And I’m the “freak” for refusing to participate and support such “practices?”