A Look Inside a Humane Slaughter House (Video)

Three brown and white calves with tags on their ears

Annie Spratt / Unsplash 

When shocking videos of dairy calves being bludgeoned in the head emerged, the response was universal disgust. In fact, it caused such a reaction that YouTube and Vimeo censors later removed the Mercy For Animals video. Whether it creates any meaningful action on animal welfare remains to be seen. I suspect the responses to the video below will be a little more divisive—because it presents the slaughtering and processing of animals the way it should be done. Assuming, of course, that you believe that it should be done at all.

A Humane Slaughter House?

Visiting Larry's Custom Meats in Hartwick, New York, Food Curated takes a tour of a proud meat cutter's processing floor. As with responses to my slideshow of a hog butchery workshop, reactions will no doubt range depending on your personal perspective on the ethics of eating meat.

What Do You Think?

Believers in humanely-reared meat as part of integrated, sustainable agriculture will most likely be impressed by the evident respect given to the animal, the care with which workers try to avoid unnecessary suffering, and the brutal honesty that this is still about taking a life. Many vegetarians and vegans may see this as yet another reminder of why they choose to avoid meat all together—even if it is a vast improvement on some of the horrors of factory farming that have emerged in the past. And for others, I am sure, all meat will remain murder and calling this process "humane" leaves nothing but a bad taste in their mouths.

Whatever your response, I hope we can all agree that transparency is a good thing. If we're going to have a debate about the rightful treatment of animals in society, we need to be able to see and understand what we are talking about. While some slaughter houses are welcoming cameras into their facilities, others are reframing photography as terrorism. That, in itself, tells us a lot.