Killing

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I know that one day in my career I'll have to slaughter my own food (eal for instance). I have this huge fear of doing it though, I guess its the ignorance of not thinking that the food I eat is the result of someone killing an animal. What advice can you give to make this process a little eaiser on the mind?
 
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That's a rough one, Zane.

Killing an animal, whether via hunting or slaughtering domestic animals, is a deeply emotional thing. All the logical arguments in the world avail you little, because you're reacting with your gut, not your head.

Let me give you two thoughts, though.

First, most professional cooks and chefs go their entire careers without once having to kill something. The idea that you may someday have to slaughter your own animal is falacious at best.

Second, if and when you do face such a task, the first time is the hardest. It will never get to be something you're blase about, hopefully. But after the first time it does get a little easier.

Your reasoning about this is dead on, however. Most of us have been raised divourced from the idea that what we are eating was once a living, breathing being. Once you accept that concept deep in your core (as opposed to merely intellectually accepting it), and realize that to truly show respect for the animal doing your own slaughtering and butchering is an act of commitment, you'll be ok.
 

phatch

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You most likely routinely take other life.

Stepping on ants  or spiders for example.

Think about it.

How is it really different than slaughtering an animal for food.

I think that there is a difference between the killing for sustenance and the killing we do out of  convenience (keeping bugs out of our home) and out of emotion towards an animal for merely disliking it as for spiders and snakes.

The Jain make an effort to take no life, even to the point of which vegetables are acceptable to eat recognizing sustenance as a conflict with their ethical purity.
 
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Maybe this is depressing, but I take the futility route backed with the delusion that two wrongs make a right.

By living in western society, you're already functioning in a culture that enjoys its status by exploiting the labor force of poverty stricken nations with poor worker rights. By being here and now, you're already guilty of supporting child starvation and infant mortality. Every day you go on without doing something because of the kids or the mortgage, you're failing to stop the exploitation of your fellow human being. If you manage to get that idea settled in your head, justified or not, finding reason to snap a bunny's neck (or finding it meaningless by comparison) shouldn't be too hard.

As KY says though, it's unlikely you'll have to. It's not as if most restaurants have to butcher their own meat, let alone function as an abattoir.
 
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You'll probably deal with live lobster at some point.  Work your way up from there.
 
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Years ago I worked in ARA flight kitchens at Kennedy Airport. At night I would cook Lobsters by the bushel basket. It may sound crazy but in the quiet of the night when we plunged them into steam kettles we all swore we heard squeeks on many occasions coming from the pots. It was eerie and I never forgot it. Cooking 1 or 2 you hear nothing , but when it's hundreds it is different. And to all the people who say Lobster doesn't feel anything, How do you know???
 
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I grew up on a farm yet I have never gotten over the trauma of an animal being killed and have never done it myself.  I can tell you though that my grandparents were quite immune to the emotional aspect of slaughtering.  We had chickens, goats, and a pig.  I think they were immune to it because they were raised from the getgo that animals were food or provided food like eggs, milk, cheese, and meat.  They were never played with as cute pets, they were never named, and when it came time for the slaughtering it was done methodically without relish.  I can't explain it because it put it me in hysterics, especially when the pig was slaughtered.  I cried for days.  They thought it was crazy and would tell me "it's nice food!"
 
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I have done it a few times here on the farm. I take a realistic approach to it but try to be as "humane" and quick about it as possible.

I take a lesson from the Jewish Kashrut laws with one quick swift knife cut to the jugular and then allow the animal to drain upside down.

I have killed racoons, pheasant, chucker, deer, chickens, and turkeys.

The first time was the hardest, but I maintain I am not killing for sport but for the meat and I try to use every bit of the animal.
 
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We went clamming last fall. I would not participate in catching or killing the clams. It especially bothered me when I saw one of the razor clams trying to scoot away in the sand.

However, once the clams were dead and gutted (or whatever he did to them) I was able to wash them and cook them.

Going to the market to buy meat doesn't bother me but I would never, as is common in my area, raise my own livestock and then slaughter and eat them.
 
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Going to the market to buy meat doesn't bother me but I would never, as is common in my area, raise my own livestock and then slaughter and eat them.
I sometimes think about this when cooking.  The nicely wrapped packages of whatever from the market have no emotional baggage attached.  Who knows where it came from, what all was involved in getting it to you.  Raising your own, being part of the entire process would certainly be a different experience.  A pound of hamburger requires the death of a cow - does it really matter to the cow who's hand did the deed?

With the exceptions of salt and water I can't think of anything we eat that doesn't involve a living entity of some sort.  Some things like eggs, fruit from a tree, milk and subsequent cheeses and such don't involve the death of the entity.  Can we really prove beyond a doubt that carrots don't scream in some fashion when they get boiled alive?

mjb.
 
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Zane - in most instances it is preferable to have a professional do the job.  This way there is little risk of anything going wrong and the animal suffering unnecissarily. Lobsters - chill them down in freezer first.  You've no doubt heard of people being caught out in a blizzard or similar conditions and feeling a lethargy come over them, then to take it further, they lapse into a coma like state.  Then bung them into the hot water (the lobsters, not the people!)..  Or conversely, another way is to start them in luke warm water....I don't agree with this method - as it seems like prolonged agony. 

An animals death when we are going to use it to eat and utilise it as much as we can should be swift and clean in fairness to that animal.  I am a carnivore for sure, but would prefer as you seem to, not having to kill what I eat.  I've done it with turkeys, and the first time was yeah pretty awful.  But you do get used to it (to a certain extent), then make sure you make the most of it out of respect for the animal.  Fish for whatever reason i don't have a problem with despatching.  Quick whack over the head does it well.

P.S. anyone - when we shuck and eat raw oysters straight up - are they still alive?  Curious is all.....
 
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We went clamming last fall. I would not participate in catching or killing the clams. It especially bothered me when I saw one of the razor clams trying to scoot away in the sand.

However, once the clams were dead and gutted (or whatever he did to them) I was able to wash them and cook them.

Going to the market to buy meat doesn't bother me but I would never, as is common in my area, raise my own livestock and then slaughter and eat them.
Hmm, something about this doesn't sound right.  One does not have to kill clams.  In fact they must be alive when cooked.  If they are dead by the time you cook them it's safer to throw them out.
 
 
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Mussels, clams and oysters must be eaten alive or cooked alive. If the shell is open then it would not be safe to eat.

Some claim that the oyster feels pain, but it really does not because it does not have a nervous system.

I believe that all life, is living, it does not matter what form it takes on, living organisms are in everything.

How do I feel about killing ?

We live in a society that has basically taken the "kill" aspect out of the factor when stores were invented. What were are ancestors doing before supermarkets ? They were farmers ......they raised and killed their animals for self preservation and grew crops.

Society in general do not like to talk about killing per se but the fact remains , it is a common day occurence that happens all the time.

So, no, I do not actually need to go to a barn and kill a angus for a  rib-eye but for no other choice I must kill certain things, as discussed above.
 
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Some claim that the oyster feels pain, but it really does not because it does not have a nervous system.
Just to clarify, they have a nervous system. Muscle tissue doesn't function without some sort of nervous system. They may even have some form of nociception, but they lack any features of neurology related to higher awareness.
 
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Supplies

Dissecting microscope

American oysters, Crassostrea virginica, 10-12 cm in length

Empty complete shell (If available)

Isotonic magnesium chloride

Cotton work gloves

Screw driver or oyster knife

Dissecting set with iridectomy scissors and microdissecting forceps

Carmine particles

12 cm culture dish

Canned smoked oysters

black construction paper

Plastic Pasteur pipet

Good grief! All I ever needed was an oyster knife and a bottle of Tabasco.
 
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And a shooter with vodka.......lolol

if you read the report about 3/4 down, it had a part on the nervous system. In fact the article spoke about the whole anatomy of the oyster.

There is so much about living creatures we just don't know about.

ps. i have 6 of those items just in my kitchen.......omg

/img/vbsmilies/smilies/drinkbeer.gif(shooter)
 
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I'm not a fan of killing any thing and I spent years traveling and hunting. While it may sound odd pulling the trigger was completely anti-climatic for me. It meant the journey was over. Does it bother me shooting a ruffed grouse? Right until it's pan fried and on the plate.

I laugh like an evil Pirate cooking lobsters. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

Letting some one else do the deed doesn't limit your culpability in the cycle of life if you eat the flesh. 

I've heard asparagus makes noise when it's cut as well. I just shove it in a bag so no one can hear it. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
 
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I just posted a little excessively about this subject, in another thread. I think we unavoidably kill animals just by being human.

Once I killed a larger animal myself, with a friend. We were 16. We killed a cow by suffocating it. It was only because it was laying in a ditch, paralyzed, and dying slowly. We had seen it the day before, upside down in the ditch, and when my friend and I went by the next day and it was still there with its eyes wide open and still breathing, we thought it would be merciful to kill it.

We were teens and on a backpacking trip in the boonies. We had no gun or big knife. We killed it by holding its nostrils shut--suffocating it. That was hard to do, but I think we did a merciful thing.

If I were to kill an animal for eating, it wouldn't be a mercy killing, so that would be a little different. I haven't done that yet, except for fish. If we are uncomfortable killing an animal for food, we can pray for/bless it as Native Americans have traditionally done (at least some tribes, so I've heard). Showing respect for the animal is the best we can do. Every human kills animals, whether intentionally or not. No need to feel guilty unless you don't show respect for nature.
 
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