Wild Abundance, a homesteading business near Asheville, plans to teach a “humane” do-it-yourself slaughtering workshop that will include the killing of a live sheep. The instructors and self-styled “ethical butchers” leading this class promote the idea that what’s needed to bridge the gap between urbanized meat eaters and the animals behind the meat is to slaughter their own animals. Look your chicken or your goat in the eye and “honor” the animal as you slice “its” throat and watch “it” suffocate to death in “its” own blood.
Bear in mind that serial murderers “bond” with their victims — they know their victim’s pain and experience it vicariously as pleasure. Bonding and “connecting” do not necessarily entail compassion and violating another’s body does not lead to sympathy with the victim. Indeed, hurting others is a thrill for many people who lust for more of the delicious sensation. We know this is true when it comes to humans intentionally hurting other humans, but when it comes to humans intentionally hurting animals, the rhetoric disconnects from reality as easily as the face disconnects from a small helpless body under the smack of a hatchet.
One of the instructors of this upcoming class, and the person who will kill the sheep being brought in for this “honor,” is local butcher Meredith Leigh, who states [in a February Ashevegas interview] that “ego is largely to blame about why we get so upset about eating animals. We assume we are important . . . our ego just gets in the way.”
Yet her position is infected with ego, based as it is on the entitled idea that “might makes right,” and that dietary preference is more important than an animal’s life.
When you choose to kill an animal for culinary pleasure, you are saying that for you, this animal is nothing. You are everything. And since animals have no protection against us, we can say and do whatever we please about our reasons for destroying them.
Beyond the injustice of killing animals needlessly, farmed animals are inefficient converters of food and require far more crops, land, water and energy than sustainable plant-based agriculture. If Wild Abundance truly aspires to be a model of sustainable and ethical living, they should focus instead on regenerative plant-based food production.
Thank you for your attention.
— Karen Davis
United Poultry Concerns
Editor’s note: A response from Meredith Leigh appears in the letter “Slaughtering Class Is About Life and Awareness” in this issue. Also, an update: Leigh stated in a Nov. 14 blog post that she will no longer be the person slaughtering the sheep at the workshop, but that another farmer will conduct the demonstration.