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Killing A Sheep

There are a series of pictures, here, of animals being slaughtered in celebration of Eid. The pictures are, of course, very gory and because some people will find them upsetting, I haven’t posted them.

One picture in particular struck me. If you don’t want to click, it shows a man cutting the throat of a sheep, while (I assume) his three youngish children hold its legs.

I think that this is a good thing. I eat meat. However I have little relationship with, or experience of, the process by which meat is produced. I see sheep and cows in fields. I have seen chickens running around. I’m aware, broadly, of what factory farming involves and how abbatoirs work.

But the bottom line is that this generation is more alienated from the process of food production than any that has gone before it. Yet, we eat more meat than our forefathers.

Many religions imbue the act of producing and consuming meat with particular significance. Killing animals is associated with sacrifice. That is a proper attitude. There is a moral dimension to slaughter and eating another animal. It is natural that we think about the morality of both husbandry and killing. This is so, even if you don’t believe in God.

A vacuum wrapped pack of meat on the shelves of Waitrose is a convenience for which I’m grateful. But, at least once in our lives, I think all meat eaters should kill a sheep.