When I was a sophomore in high school, I got a job at a butcher shop. It was a family-owned butcher shop, and I still visit them to say hi when I am home, and I harbor no ill will about the place. I cleaned up after the slaughter of animals, I made hot dogs, I cleaned meat grinders, I seasoned and hung hams and bacons (the place won best bacon in the country year after year), and I cleaned meat saws and bloody white cutting boards. It was kind of gross at times but I worked there for four or five years, including during summers when I was home from college.
Still after a few months working there, I stopped eating beef and pork. I just couldn't stomach it after a while. The smell, the blood, the sounds of the animals. I mean, I have lots of pretty gross stories, like how the cows continue to move around on the meat hooks for a few hours after they are slaughtered, or how pigs smelled so bad after they are slaughtered that I sometimes vomited. So, from 1993 on, it was just poultry for me.
When I returned after my first year of college, my job became cleaning out the chicken pans. I was still eating chicken at the point, but these nasty birds became just too much for me. So, I became a strict vegetarian in 1996. It was actually a New Year's Resolution, but it wasn't a big deal because I was eating so little chicken by that point anyway. But I haven't eaten meat since 1996.
My reasons were only partly because of animal rights, if at all - mostly I just thought meat was gross. I mean, I read a few books and did some research about the treatment of animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, but the decision had already been made. I never was big on meat (heck, I remember putting ketchup on steak when I was little, and smothering hamburgers with mustard), then saw the process of making it was gross, and decided I didn't want to be a part of it anymore.
Most people who know me don't even know I'm a vegetarian. (I'm not a real one anymore, though - I've eaten fish for a few years. Because I feel like they have no soul.) I am not judgemental about it, and while I passionately believe that I shouldn't be eating meat, I know it does no good to try to force these beliefs - especially since they go against such ingrained customs - on others.
But I have always thought that everyone who eats meat should spend some time in a slaughterhouse. Now, it looks like we have a chance. This is horrible, and makes me really glad I'm not a part of it. It's not a radical group like PETA, but the Human Society... and this is the hidden camera that led to the beef recall in CA. These guys should all be locked up just like Michael Vick:
A Poem For Sunday - “2047 Grace Street” by Christian Wiman: But the world is more often refuge than evidence, comfort and covert for the flinching will, rather than the sharp ...
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