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In Reply to: We Eat Meat... Good Read posted by Don, Dueling Bubbas on January 14, 2014 at 18:04:57:
About a month ago PQM organized a trip for our staff to one of our farmer/purveyors. The trip entailed an overview of the whole operation but included witnessing the slaughter. Our staff, our butchers in particular, are serious about their craft and sincerly idealistic about how they execute it. They were, to a person, profoundly moved by the experience.
This post was already in the works and was only slightly prompted by the appearance of the billboard; a dialogue with Cosmo, Publican Sous-Chef and PQM Butcher and D, PQM manager about that trip, our philosophy and that undeniable death.
D: Why did we do the farm trip?
Cos: It's important to see it. It's important not to...put it in parentheses. It's a hard job that someone does, even in the best of circumstances.
D: Have you ever slaughtered an animal?
Cos: Yes. Lambs. At a very small farm. It becomes...it's hard to say...ritualistic, kind of religious. You calm the animal. We actually said a prayer to each one.
D: How did you kill it?
Cos: We slit their throats. It's about making it as quick and painless as possible. That may not sound quick or painless but it is very quick, especially if the animal isn't being herded into a chute and can smell and hear what's happening.
D: When I saw the billboard I thought, perversely, that we actually kinda line up with these guys in most regards...with, you know, one glaring exception.
Cos: Yeah, what I thought was that cute suckling pig...people need to realize...that pig is older than any chicken you've ever eaten. Commodity chickens that you buy in the grocery store...they're about 9 days old, socked full of steroids and fed completely gross crap to plump them up. Ours are 21 days old at least, live on a natural light cycle, no cages...there are pens where the chickens can hide from the other chickens. In chicken terms that's Quality of Life.
D: We did a bit about the American Livestock Conservancy a few weeks back. They're salvaging disappearing heritage breeds of animals and are addressing the seeming contradiction - if we don't eat these breeds they'll cease to exist. It's pretty much 'Eat the Pig, Save the Breed', and I thought about that when I saw the billboard too. The suckling pig petitioning to keep his ribs wouldn't exist if it wasn't produced for food. On the other hand, if it's Commodity Meat production, that's probably not a bad thing. He'd be better off not existing.
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