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#62273 - 10/12/09 10:17 AM Quality of Kill
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: Canada
Just to make a point that has been made before, I am a firm believer that there is a right way and a wrong way to slaughter animals: quick, painless (as possible), no panic, no botched job. I think it is our duty to take the job of killing with the utmost seriousness. I take a dim view of people who really have no standard of compassion for quality of kill. Plus they raise inedible meat.

We butchered a few weeks back. Everything went as usual with my teenage daughter acting as catcher since she is the feeder and chickens panic less in her presence. Our aim is no panic, low key, and calm.

It went well until last bird. For some reason (well, for a good reason I suppose) this bird freaked out and flapped around as best it could. It took hubby and daughter to run around after it. It was awful. We consider this a disaster and failure on our part, but the difference that panic created was noticed immediately. Hubby said the entire bird was ceased up, clenched. He had to pull the thighs apart to make the cut to get his hand in. All other birds were loose and floppy, you might say a relaxed carcass. Not this last one. The entire botched slaughter experience was evident in the physical state of the carcass, and I'm willing to bet when I roast it, this will be the one tough one in the bunch.

It makes you wonder where the idea that good meat could ever be produced out of the mass slaughter house experience. I just thought it was interesting how quickly and obvioulsy affected this bird was by a few minutes of panic. It only reinforces what I have always believed: you can raise an animal right, healthy, stress free, and then completely screw it all up in the last 10 minutes of life if you do it wrong!

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#62274 - 10/13/09 03:25 PM Re: Quality of Kill
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Quote:

It makes you wonder where the idea that good meat could ever be produced out of the mass slaughter house experience?
You know how I love to play devil's advocate on this part! laugh

The birds are kept in dark conditions until they are put on shackles (heads down). When they get into the light, it's almost blinding. Their combs touch electrified water that renders them unconscious.

This electrocution is what helps make the meat tender. It is not so high as to cause the bird to cease up, but in fact lets the muscles contract and relax. Then there's the bleed-out. Because the birds are not conscious, there is no ability for the body to cease up before death. The muscles simply relax as the blood drains.

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#62275 - 10/15/09 04:33 PM Re: Quality of Kill
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: Canada
Hi Jrsy. Thanks for your reply. I guess when I talk about slaughter house production and bad meat, I'm thinking more in terms of beef. I admit to being quite uninformed about poultry processing procedures, but whether for beef or poultry or horse (gack!), I just think we need to do a better job. We butcher our own because we want the birds to freak out as little as possible. Being used to us they panic less than with strangers.

Have you read any of the work by that autistic woman who designs and inspects slaughter facilities? It's very interesting! Her name escapes me just now, but her take on animal emotion and perception is very informative. I would recommend this reading to anyone.

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#62276 - 10/16/09 06:02 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Kbaiko Offline
Chicken

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 98
Loc: Arizona
Her name is Temple Granden.

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#62279 - 10/16/09 10:47 PM Re: Quality of Kill
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: Canada
I stumbled upon Temple's book by accident but am sure glad I did. Thanks for the name reminder!

I am not against slaughter; obviously, we do it ourselves. I am aghast at how government interference, done under the flag of producing "safe" food, has made things worse for the animals in many ways. Here in British Columbia recent legislation caused many small slaughter operators to close down, the effect being that animals must now be trucked much farther, at greater stress to them. With the United States outlawing horse slaughter, it has simply moved across the border into Canada. Plants are overwhelmed with stock, the kill rate has to be higher, and horrible quality failures happen. It's the quality failures that I have issues with. Nightmares over, really.

It's stupid, I suppose, to feel good thinking that hubby and I kill better. That's kind of an oxymoron, like somehow our chickens are less dead because they were killed better. Yet, how swiftly, how calmly, and how unexpectedly an animal dies matter to me very much. I think it should matter to anyone who has ever put meat on their plate.

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#62280 - 10/18/09 06:50 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Excellent post, Uno. I do so agree with you, and it matters to me a whole bunch too that animals raised for meat have a half decent life and as non traumatic a death as possible.

Some of the worst arguments I have had start with people who condemn hunting but merrily buy their beef, veal, or whatever at the grocery store. My point is if you are eating meat, you should understand how that meat gets to your table. In the case of beef it's not always a pretty picture. Contrast that with the deer. The deer lives a natural life, and then it's a quick death. It's way more humane to me.

So Uno, I admire very much you and your family taking the time, care, and respect that you do in the raising of your chickens--right down to the end.

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#62283 - 10/21/09 11:37 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 975
Loc: Wisconsin
Quote:
Originally posted by deedee:
Contrast that with the deer. The deer lives a natural life, and then it's a quick death. It's way more humane to me.
You have to be kidding. I have been a deer hunter for over 50 years now. Do you have any idea how far a whitetail can go after being shot through the guts? I have seen deer running with part of their insides hanging out or with legs shot off, but it really isn't any worse than being eaten alive by a pack of wolves or coyotes.

Nothing gets out of this life alive--all of us included, but nature is a cruel place. "Dog eat dog" is more than a figure of speech. That said, animals were put here for a purpose, and there is no logic behind anthropomorphism. I take care of my critters like they were my children, but I have no problem whacking a rooster's head off for Sunday dinner. They aren't human.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1 John 5:11-12

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#62285 - 10/22/09 06:34 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Actually I'm a hunter too and have shot my share of deer. I take care to only shoot when I KNOW I have the best chance of a clean kill. I assume most hunters do too. Of course, some people hunt who shouldn't just like any other human endeavor.

It seems to me you are taking issue with some point in my post. No one in this thread is having a problem with eating meat. It's one of my favortite items on the menu. The point is that it is ethical and humane to try and insure that animals that are raised for meat have a decent death. Life is cruel, but the same end can be reached, re: meat for the table in a humane manner. One hunts responsibly, and one encourages meat producers to kill responsibly. I'm not sure how that position differs from yours. Could you explain a little more?

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#62286 - 10/22/09 06:50 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 975
Loc: Wisconsin
My point is, no matter how good a hunter you are, and I happen to hunt with some of the best, there are times when the kill is anything but "clean." How many times have you shot a deer that died instantly upon impact of the projectile? Be honest. The portion of your post that was quoted was just a little too idealistic to be realistic. I certainly agree with your point dealing with kindness when it comes to our fellow creatures of a lower order. No offense intended.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1 John 5:11-12

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#62287 - 10/22/09 07:48 AM Re: Quality of Kill
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Yes, you are defintely right. It's not always possible, and in being honest I do have one hunt that I'd just as soon forget; it wasn't pretty. But mostly they have been good, clean kills; and while not instantaneous, pretty quick (either with the gun or the car), and I am proud of them. I'm sure that's been the case with you also, (but hopefully you've been able to dodge them better with the car than I have). I too meant no offense, and it sounds very much that we are on the same page.

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