by Amber Bewick
On our first day during our study trip in Kenya last December, my classmates and I visited a small-scale farm in the countryside just a couple hours outside of Nairobi. The farm is a place for a group of (wealthy) male friends to come together on the weekends and hang around. They all share the passion/hobby for gardening and being around nature. During the week people that live on the proximity of the farm take care of the gardens and the animals on the land - a couple cows, goats and chickens. They grow lots of different vegetables, like yams, chards, potatoes, and also fruits.
It was a very nice/relaxing day visiting the farm, learning some cooking techniques, dancing with the locals and eating good food. During this day we also got to witness the slaughtering of a goat, and I want to share with you the experience.
In Kenya we were served a lot of meat, especially goat meat. We later found out that actually eating meat is a rarity and considered a privilege.
One goat will be enough to feed around 10-15 people, so when they kill it they need to make sure there will be people to enjoy it. To kill a goat it generally requires two people, one will cut the animal's throat, then the other will pull the body straight up from its back legs to let the blood flow out completely. Because of its value, all body parts are used and nothing is thrown away, even the blood is kept to make some sort of sausage.
On this day, they decided to show the killing in a more ‘elaborate’ way, so they picked up the goat, tied one of the legs to a tree, then the other. After hanging there for a few minutes, they slit it’s throat. Immediately the goat started screaming terribly, it sounded just like a human. We were all very disturbed and felt the slaughter was carried out quite inhumanely. Some of us were worried that the goat might have broken its hip when it was hung upside down. We later learned that it was more of a show for us, and we were quite disappointed it wasn't done in the more common (and humane) way.
Some people of the group could not stay to see the slaughtering, yet they are meat eaters.
Killing is of course not a pleasant thing to do, especially when we are talking about sentient beings. People from western societies grow up with clean and packaged food, so the result is being totally detached by its origin.
Why are we so fine with eating an animal, but we are so afraid of seeing where it comes from?
I took the video of the slaughtering of the goat. Yet, when I asked people if they wanted to see it, many if not all, started to freak out, begging me not to show them.
If you want to eat meat, I believe you should acknowledge the fact that it is coming from a sentient being, capable of reason and emotions, be respectful and grateful of it and therefore be able to see the crude side of its ending. If you cannot bare to see it, should you then consume it?