The Goat and Her Kid, cont.

The “mother goat and her kid” passage from the Bible leads inexorably to an examination of modern slaughterhouse methods. Oh, how I do not wish to go here. How I wish to remain ignorant. This examination will be cursory, to preserve my own and your sanity.  What little I have learned is enough.

Modern slaughterhouse methods, at least in the U.S., require for hygienic purposes that the animal be shackled and hoisted while still alive. The animal may be unconscious, although the process of rendering a living animal unconscious is itself horrific, difficult to administer properly, and too often ineffective. If the slaughter is to comport with Jewish or Islamic religious requirements, the animal must be conscious when killed. This is to be certain that the animal is not diseased or otherwise unfit.

Ritual slaughter in ancient days was ostensibly designed for a quick death to minimize suffering and demonstrate respect and compassion for the animal. The combination of hygienic and religious laws today has the opposite effect.

Although certain practices are said to have improved in recent years, these practices vary widely between slaughterhouses. Workers themselves are subjected to brutal and dangerous conditions, requiring them to kill hundreds of animals a day, leaving little time to take care that minimal standards of animal welfare are met.

In sum, the terror, pain, and suffering our slaughterhouse practices inflict on the animal are, or should be, beyond belief. The soul shrivels with horror. How can we be part of this in any way?

I am beginning to realize that our cruelty to wolves is but part of a larger cruelty to animals everywhere. Slaughterhouses; puppy mills; pitiless hunting techniques that include trapping, poisoning, trip-wire snaring at the throat, calling with sounds of pups in distress, aerial gunning; the public and private abuse of domestic and captive wild animals – all unregulated, uncontrolled, existing only by virtue of the power we hold over the defenseless and our sense of entitlement. I have come to believe that sustained cruelty on a massive scale, whether to humans or animals, is founded in large part upon inertia, ignorance, and entitlement – the systemic evil of our human condition.*

What can be done? Here are only a few ideas. Please add your own.

We can choose not to eat meat.

If we do eat meat, we can insist on knowing where it comes from, the conditions under which it was raised, and the circumstances of its slaughter.

We can refuse to purchase a puppy from a mill.

We can speak out for the voiceless, in whatever format and in whatever way moves our heart and suits our capabilities.

We can open our eyes and refuse to turn away.


Paralyzed with fear
prodded and jolted
stench searing the brain
the fruits of cruelty
stagger to our table.


What is on my table?
How did it get here?
Do I want to know?

two early poems, from Songs for a Beloved Friend, Poems and Essays for the Planet
Carmen Mandel speaks regularly for the voiceless at her blog, Vegan Heart
I am not including links to sites discussing the methods briefly described above. The reading is simply too disturbing. You can find these sites on your own if you need to.
*This does not discount the existence of insanity at the governmental and individual level.
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7 Responses to The Goat and Her Kid, cont.

  1. Monica says:

    There may be hope for improvement – in local food movements, in increasing awareness. Who knows?

  2. Monica says:

    ain’t it the truth!

  3. The Emu says:

    A sad post Monica, unfortunately mankind has gone beyond the stage of constructive objection.
    Food is now appearing on our supermarket shelves that have dubious origins.
    The chase for big money seems to have overtaken compassion and care.

  4. beeblu says:

    Inertia is very much part of the human condition, and each of us is guilty of it in the face of things we’d prefer to ignore.

  5. I’m touched, thank you very much, Monica.

  6. Monica says:

    I know you are right, Carmen. I applaud you for having the courage and determination to follow your convictions where they lead and for continuing to speak out. Thank you.

  7. Thank you very much for the kind mention, dear Monica. Thank you for this series, too. The hard facts are terribly painful, even more when all this can be avoided. An ethical vegan lifestyle encompassess all aspects of the lives of other beings –it lessens suffering, abuse, pollution, degradation of the environment and violence in society. Thank you, my friend.

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