Have any of you ever participated in the slaughter (not hunting, but hands-on slaughter) of an animal for food? Did the experience affect you, and if so, how?
When I first began coming to Denmark, I stayed on a small biodynamic farm. A good portion of their meat came from their small flocks of free-range chickens and sheep.
On two occasions I was there when they slaughtered some of the chickens. I didn't do the actual slaughter—not a job for the untrained—but held the birds in place (and, yeh, turned my head away, and also prayed I wouldn't get a finger or something chopped off).
On both occasions, this left me shaking like a leaf.
I was raised as a lacto-ovo vegetarian (for ethical reasons). When I left home, I reverted to eating meat. In all honesty, I cannot supply a truly objective rationale for killing animals for food. On the other hand, I also believe that if they are raised and slaughtered humanely, this cannot be classified as cruelty.
My own experience with slaughtering chickens didn't change my views, since I’d had to sort through those a long time before, when I stopped being a vegetarian. Still, whenever I shop for meat I cannot help wondering if the animal died as painlessly as possible, or if it was, essentially, tortured to death. And this does affect what I buy.
After reading the article about Jamie Oliver slaughtering a chicken on television, I wondered what your experiences were with regard to this subject, and what views you held as a result.