Death at the Abattoir

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Death at the Abattoir

The first time Professor Marx mentioned that we would be given the opportunity to witness a pig slaughtering, I immediately decided that I would do it. I chose the Abattoir because I wanted to be informed about the process. As I walked down the path to the Abattoir I tried not to think about what I was about to witness. After passing through the huge metal doors, stepping in the soap water to disinfect the bottom of my shoes, putting on the hair net, the apron, and hard hat, I felt like I was about to walk on to the production floor of a large factory. The room was an obsessive-compulsive person’s paradise. Everything was spotless and in top condition. On the ceiling were a series of wheels on rails that connected to hooks, which moved the pigs from station to station. Other than an assortment of carts, a monstrous machine in one corner, four butchers, and an inspector, the room seemed empty.

The pigs were kept outside the abattoir in a little pen area. The eldest butcher opened the door, and the first pig hobbled in on its arthritis-crippled legs to the first stage. The pig did not seem to have any idea what was going on as the butchers attached a chain to one of its hind legs. The pig was hoisted upside down, and the butcher punctured a gaping hole at the bottom of the pig’s throat. Blood immediately started gushing out. The pig barely struggled as its waning heart pumped out its blood onto the cement floor below.

After the pig died, they moved it into a vat of steaming hot water for about ten minutes to help loosen the hair from its skin. The carcass was then shifted onto a giant contraption which removes most of the hair from the now lifeless body of the pig. The machine is a giant metal basket that literally shakes the hair from the pig. As the pig violently rolled over and over, it resembled a hamster whose wheel had not stopped turning after it died.

I was taking a few steps back to escape the hair that was flying off the pig, when my finger brushed against burning hot metal. I looked down and saw a small tub of hot water that I later observed the butchers used to sanitize their knives in between slaughters.

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