Eating the Flesh


In Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, there is vivid descriptions of the slaughter of animals to prepare them for consumption.

Here is the gist of the third chapter:

Jokubas takes the family on a tour of Packingtown. They are amazed to see pens packed with tens of thousands of cattle, pigs, and sheep. The suffering of the animals, which will all be killed by the end of the day, daunts even Jurgis’s optimism. But the flurry of human activity fills Jurgis with wonder. Jokubas notes sarcastically the signs regarding the sanitation rules. The government inspector who checks the slaughtered pigs for signs of tuberculosis often lets several carcasses go unchecked. Spoiled meat is specially doctored in secret before it is scattered among the rest of the meat in preparation for canning and packing.

At this time there is little supervision of the plants butchering the meats.  The inspectors look the other way, are bribed or inundated by the vast amount of work that they cannot adequately evaluate the carnage around them.  But then again that was 1906.

Update to the present.

The F.D.A. allows for  a hefty bowl of spaghetti is permitted 200 or so bug fragments—one for every gram of pasta—fifteen fly eggs, and a maggot.  Yummie.  We have come a long way.  As for the slaughter of animals we do it quicker and we are given the concept of there is no pain.

Make sure you are slaughtering at the right time of year, or even day. Try to avoid slaughtering and butchering cattle, or any other animals, during fly season, which is typically between May and October in most countries except Australia. For some areas, you can butcher anytime between October and May, especially the areas that don’t get much or any snow and temperatures remain 40 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) during the day.

    • However, the window for slaughtering cattle is much more narrower for areas that do get snow from November or December through to May. For these areas, slaughtering should be done in the fall, between October to the first snowfall.
    • You should also note the time that your animals were born and when the best age and time to slaughter should be. For example, if the steer you are raising on grass was born in April and you are wanting to slaughter him when he’s around 18 months of age, then you should slaughter in October of the following year. However, if the steer was born in February and you want to slaughter at the same age (18 months), then you may have to consider waiting a couple of months more (into October or November instead of in August of the following) to slaughter it.
    • Consider withholding feed for 24 hours prior to slaughter. It’s not totally necessary, but it’s easier to clean or gut an animal when there is no food in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract than if there was. But if you feel bad about leaving your cattle hungry before slaughter, then that’s fine too. But remember to be very careful when the skinning and cleaning process has to commence.

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