The Locavore Movement's Mistake: Deregulating Animal Slaughter

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The Locavore Movement's Mistake: Deregulating Animal Slaughter

[Ed. Note: Read Backyard Chicken Flocks...Is It Really a Good Idea?, Backyard Chickens Require More Care Than Some Realize and Collective Position Statement on Backyard Poultry.]

From United Poultry Concerns (UPC), September 2011

Just because a consumer enjoys local meat doesn't mean she has the skills required to properly slaughter and process it. As one poultry specialist explained to me, "Most amateur slaughterers don't know a carotid artery from a jugular vein."

It is not true that animals slaughtered by backyard butchers necessarily suffer more than do animals slaughtered in commercial slaughter plants.

Inexpertly killed animals suffer immensely.

As matters now stand, Oakland could very well alter its urban agriculture code in order to allow virtually any urban homesteader not only to raise goats, chickens, rabbits, and ducks, but to slaughter them on site. And what happens in Oakland -- a test case of sorts -- is bound to be replicated elsewhere.

Such a deregulatory policy might seem perfectly consistent with the locavore vision of agricultural decentralization. But it's actually a recipe for disaster. For one, just because a consumer enjoys local meat doesn't mean she has the skills required to properly slaughter and process it. As one poultry specialist explained to me, "Most amateur slaughterers don't know a carotid artery from a jugular vein."

UPC’s comment at http://eatingplantsdotorg.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/eat-local-kill-local-the-backyard-slaughter/:

Your write-up about backyard slaughter is appreciated. Most amateur slaughterers don’t know a carotid artery from a jugular vein. This ignorance adds to the cruel death the animals endure in being immobilized in killing cones and having their throats cut. However, it is not true that animals slaughtered by backyard butchers necessarily suffer more than do animals slaughtered in commercial slaughter plants. For example, chickens, turkeys and ducks suffer more because they are subjected to paralytic electric shocks by being immersed, head down, in cold, salted, electrified water before their throats are partially cut, to facilitate the release of their feathers after they are dead, and to immobilize the fully conscious birds on the conveyer belts. The electricity goes through their faces and bodies. The torture is surpassing. The birds are conscious, in agony, and unable to move. And there is much more to be said about the commercial use of gasses and decompression of poultry in commercial plants. People wishing to learn more about poultry slaughter are encouraged to read my book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry. For an overview, see Poultry Slaughter: The Need for Legislation, Revised Booklet, 2011.