From Death Cone to DeliciousPosted: October 3, 2010
When we described two of our members as stoic, we knew of what we spoke. Many of us will spend a lifetime enjoying eating meat without ever seeing an animal killed, much less doing it ourselves. Which brings us to the death cone. (WARNING. This is a longer and graphic entry, but killing your own dinner is complex.)
Eating meat today is easy, yet shockingly complicated. While I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, there is a ton of information on industrial farming that is beyond readily accessible. An awesome read on the subject is The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Disclaimer: I didn’t actually read this. Chad did. But he did nag me about reading it for a good two months.) An annoying movie that was a better book is Fast Food Nation.
Overall, there’s not much positive to say on the subject, other than it provides low quality product that is readily available and inexpensive. My personal solution is a bit of a cop out. I buy from a local farmer where I know the animals are respected and naturally fed. I still get my meat neatly packaged, but I’m happier supporting local small business and knowing my dinner had a better quality of life.
But some people, including our Valley contingent, have traveled the distance. This year Chad and Lindsay purchased four broiler hens (actually three, one turned out to be a rooster) and six egg laying hens.
Keeping the chicks warm and well fed, and massaging their little chests, they raised 9 of the chickens to maturity. (One chick died, we were all heartbroken, we’re all soft yuppies.) In the interim, they also built a gorgeous coop, which was described as “more of a chicken zoo really.”
Displaying distinct personalities and temperaments, the chickens played, roosted and ran free. And when the time came, Chad and Lindsay bought a sharp knife, dug a hole, filled a wheelbarrow with sawdust, and put on a pot of water to boil. They gave the chicken in question a huge farewell dinner the night before, and spent the day showering him with special favours (killing the rooster first was an easy choice, he had matured and was starting to get that glint in his eye, also he had recently taken to waking them up).
Placing the rooster in the death cone (a method of calming the bird, and avoiding the inevitable headless running amok chicken- something I’m all too aware of, but that’s another entry), Lindsay cut his throat and he bled out. Once he was dead, they dunked him in boiling water to remove the feathers, dealt with the entrails, and dressed him for dinner.
Was it easy? Nope. And I don’t even think the killing was the hard part. I think it was the four months of work and effort in caring for the chickens. In fact, as I write this, I know Chad and Lindsay were likely up around six this morning to look in on the animals (they also have goats now). But if you want to raise animals ethically, there are no shortcuts.
That rooster had a truly great – albeit short – life. He spent his days in the sun wandering around eating slugs and the occasional watermelon, and as a meat eater with a conscience, that’s more than enough for me.