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The Questionable Ethics Of Home Slaughter

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Lately, it seems like everyone and their mom is getting involved with the homebrewing, home canning, home curing, and home-growing movements. But what about home slaughtering?

The grisly-sounding practice is gaining ground among a certain set. In an article calling out the DIY crowd for their potentially careless behavior, Slate writer James McWilliams describes this contingent as "hip urban dwellers intent on controlling the food they eat." Though on the surface this sounds like a crunchy good time, McWilliams points out that this fad is actually "rife with trouble."

While I don't agree with every one of McWilliams points—is it really such a huge problem that urban bloggers are making bad chicken puns?—his main objection is that many urban farmers lack the training to properly slaughter an animal. He also points out that many seem to view killing chickens as a thrill-seeking sport, an idea that sends shivers up my spine—as does the description of one blogger cutting off the head of a chicken with a pair of garden shears. With stunts like that, DIY slaughter can seem less like an empowering alternative to mass produced food and more like an expression of good old fashioned bloodlust.

Finally, McWilliams suggests that maybe one of the problems with urban farming can be found right there in the name. Urban gardens are all well and good, but many neighborhoods don't have the space to properly raise livestock. Though there is a certain romanticism about producing all your own food, maybe there are some practices that should be left to the professionals—and some animals that should be left on the farm.

The Butcher Next Door from Slate