I was struck by the oddity of the ideas expressed by Josephine Bloomfield, a butchery apprentice featured in your story, “Sacred Sacrifice: An Upcoming Butchering Workshop Focuses on Using and Honoring All Parts of the Animal” [Oct. 7, Xpress].
She said, “If I’m going to eat this animal, it means [it] has to sacrifice its life for me.”
Picking at random an Internet dictionary, I find “sacrifice’ as a transitive verb defined [as] “to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.” Unless Ms. Bloomfield is somehow obtaining informed consent from these animals, it seems inapt to attribute to them any sense of voluntariness about what is happening. The animal is not “surrendering” or “giving up” anything, nor is it “permitting” itself to be killed; rather, its life is being taken by violent force against its will.
Continuing, Ms. Bloomfield says that she can “honor” the animal by “using every part of her.” I find this bizarre. If Ms. Bloomfield were to kill me, I don’t see that I would be “honored” by her consuming my flesh as opposed to leaving me to rot, using me as a crash-test dummy or scattering my ashes. Dead is dead. Perhaps the killer feels more honorable making specific choices about what happens to a carcass, but I think it delusional to believe that any such decision brings “honor” to the being that has been killed, which cannot possibly care.
Finally, Ms. Bloomfield says that honoring the animal means “respecting every part of” it. I cannot fathom how she has elevated respecting the parts of an animal’s carcass above respecting its very life.
I do not intend to condemn all eating of meat. I do, however, intend to condemn some of the vapid, self-serving and frankly dishonest things we say to comfort and distract us from the ugly essence of what meat-eating requires: attacking, slaughtering and consuming a defenseless animal that is given no choice in the matter.
— Robert J. Woolley