The Butcher Shop

995 Words2 Pages

Around noon on Thursday, my roommate and I walked drearily to the local slaughterhouse, or abattoir, where we would see a pig slaughter. The building we arrived at looked eerie on the school’s campus. The abattoir stood alone, next to the bullpen and at the end of a dirt road. We walked in and a female student greeted us and told us to put on an apron, a hairnet, and a hardhat. The room smelled of warm blood. There were five people in yellow aprons and white hardhats amiably working together butchering a pig, which was currently hanging by its feet, bleeding from its neck. I felt disappointed when I realized we were late, and had missed the pig’s death. I felt my stomach jump into my throat as my visual and nasal senses were overcome with blood.

Having been bled, the pig was lowered into a large basin full of water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Unconscious, the pig didn’t scream or move as it was lowered into the scalding water. The boiling bath loosens up the pig’s hair and nails, which are removed before the pig is butchered. After the bath, two butchers used levers to heave the pig from the water onto the “Cincinnation.” Resting on the wedge above a giant egg-beater on its side, the pig upon the Cincinnation was the most surreal part of the process. The pig spun around awkwardly and violently while the amiable foreman sprayed it with a high pressure hose causing chunks of pig hair to fly through the air. Stepping away from the jettisoning hair clumps, yet not taking our eyes off of the spinning pig, the whole room seemed to shrink as our focus did upon the pig.

My stomach’s queasiness was slowly subsiding as the pig was taken off of the menacing Cincinnation and ont...

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...he pig. After passing inspection, the workers in yellow aprons moved the carcass into a huge refrigerator. Inside an amiable man told us all about Cal Poly meat. The meat produced on campus is choice meat, sold at a good price right here in a building next to campus market. The animals on campus are all used for butcher, sale, or research. He had more work to do, but told us he could talk about their work all day.

Having witnessed what goes on to provide us our meat, I felt even more comfortable with what I eat. The camaraderie amongst the butchers extended towards all inside the room . Seeing people work on something that means so much to them with such passion was as much of a rare experience as seeing pigs slaughtered. The butchers’ confidence and excitement made for an unforgettable spectacle, visually stimulating and oddly heart-warming.

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