Join Date: Dec. 31, 2001
this thing i wrote
im taking my first english class since high school six years ago. tell me how i did on this essay
The meat market today lacks variety, putting the cattle, chicken, and pig farming industries under constant pressure to produce enough meat for the voracious American consumer. Without a healthy desire to diversify the market, the weight of responsibility to produce falls on these three small categories. These groups of animals are thus over-produced, becoming mainstream, stifling competition, and stagnating the market. Instead, the meat market ought to be broadened to include horses, dogs, and cats; doing so is not as taboo as may initially appear, will enrich the American consumer’s palate, and is achievable through current industry standards.
Horse meat is “a sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, closer to beef than venison” (Stein) and has a history of being eaten and enjoyed around the world. Chivers describes the way a horse is slaughtered by the nomads of Central Asia’s Kazakhstan. As the horse is knocked down, “men scrambled atop it, lashed its legs tight and placed a metal trough under its neck” (Chivers). The men “thanked the pinned stallion for what it would provide” and then proceeded to sweep “the blade across the horses neck” (Chivers). Being in a less developed country with few or poor industrialized meat production systems, it is therefore understandable that the Kazakhs would be forced to resort to such barbaric means of slaughter; however, this does not have to be the fate in an American meat farming industry.
Given the similarities, modeling a possible horse meat industry after the beef industry only makes sense. Horses would live their lives as they do now, serving their purposes as a recreational animal, providing man with entertainment. Once they had grown to adequate size, or they develop defects, they would be considered ready for slaughter. Like cattle, they would be herded from a truck into the slaughter house and greeted with a bolt of electricity, stunned before the slaughtering begins. As has been shown before with cattle, multiple stunning may be required in order to properly knock out such a large beast. Since stunning has more to do with controlling the animal than it does to protect the animal from pain, the repeated bolts are of no large concern. Once the horse falls to the floor, it would then be hung by its rear leg and exsanguinated - its throat slit and blood drained. Cattle have been known to kick and flail about during this process, so the worker making the cuts should be careful to avoid getting hit. The horse’s body lifeless, it is finally ready to be carved, cut, and ground up; the American consumer eagerly awaits with knife and fork.
Dog meat consumption is also widespread, from Switzerland to China. Lauren Shockey, who learned to cook around the world, describes dog meat as having a “strong animal taste like squab or venison” and being “reminiscent of beef” (Shockey). Ed Cooley shares his experience with the Kickapoo tribes of North America and how they prepare dog meat. He watched them strike the dog over the head with a club, and cut its throat. Cooked, they would then pass portions around and eat it solemnly, like “Christians taking the sacrament” (Cooley 311-12). Of course, limited by resources, the Kickapoo people could never achieve a level of sophistication in slaughter as an American meat farm has today.
Since the dog is similar in size and intelligence to the pig, it is only sensible to equate a dog meat market with pork. Pups would be removed from their mother early. In order to achieve the most dog meat possible, dogs would be confined to close quarters, limiting their movement and increasing their weight. As pigs have been known to chew the tails of the pig in front of them (Pollan), it would be advisable to follow current standards; a dog’s tail would thus be chopped off leaving only a nub, and the ends of their teeth would be broken. Pain killers would not be required. Since sick pigs are unproductive and are eliminated, sicks dogs would then need to be removed as well - this can be done by “slamming animals’ heads against the floor until they die, drowning them with a hose, [or] standing on their necks” (Morrissette) . Once they reach the slaughter house, like the horse, they would be controlled by electric zaps. A dogs skin could be removed in the same manner as a pigs - “dunked in tanks of hot water after they are stunned to soften the hides for skinning” (Warrick). Much like the horse, the dog is ready for consumption after being carved apart and packaged.
Which then leaves the cat. Cats are consumed in various parts of the world and cat meat is “ very, very sweet” ( Ngwa-Niba). Ngwa-Niba reports how cats are prepared in Cameroon. After purchasing a cat, a Batibo man proceeds to stuff the cat into a sack and then beats it with a stick until it is dead. After being roasted for an hour, the man eats the head, the rest is shared by four others. They consider it good luck ( Ngwa-Niba). Obviously, the economic status of these men could never lead to the merciful practices of an American meat farm.
Cats are comparable in size to chicken and is therefore the basis of how the meat markets would mirror each other. Given that the cats would be restricted to small spaces with many other cats, they would need to be declawed and possibly have their teeth filed. This would be in line with the current practice of debeaking chickens to prevent them from pecking each other to death. Cats would be genetically altered to reach slaughter weight quickly often at the expense of heart disease and leg injuries. They would then be transported to the slaughter house, though it is expected that some may not survive the trip. Though not required by law, in order to uphold humane practices and more importantly, to keep them immobilized, the cats could be dipped in a tank of water and then shocked once inside the slaughter house. Afterwards, they would be hung by their rear feet along a moving rail, their throats slashed by a mechanical blade, and then submerged in boiling hot water. That some chickens are conscious during this ordeal should mean that some cats may be as well (“Factory Poultry Production”). The ends equate to a delicious new type of meat for a hungry American consumer.
The American public deserves a full spectrum of flavor. This cannot be accomplished by allowing a market that only supports beef, pork, and poultry. Horse, dog, and cat meat are consumed the world over, and introducing them to American society will satisfy their taste buds. While it is apparent that the slaughtering of these animals in other parts of the world are often cruel and barbaric, adopting current American meat farming practices can achieve the construction of these new markets. Americans would be able to produce these new meats, relieving the stress on currently slaughtered animals, and do so in a way that promotes a humane and efficient process that preserves our sentimentality to these creatures. After all, we’re not animals.
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Stein, Joel. "Horse — It's What's for Dinner." Time Magazine. 08 Feb 2007: n. page. Web.
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