Story and photos by Sophie Minta True
To many people “slaughter” is a tough word to throw around, because to some it implies an image that they don’t often want to picture. But to me, I looked at this word differently. There was an announcement during morning meeting saying there was going to be a turkey slaughter happening the next afternoon and volunteers were needed for some extra help. I’m usually not the kind of person to step up with full of excitement to do such a thing, however, my mind thought differently when this opportunity became available. I have heard the saying “you should never eat what you cannot kill” and not only do I agree with that but I thought that I shouldn’t eat meat having never seen or done the process necessary to kill it. Also, while at Chewonki I want to experience as many new things as I can, whenever they come my way—turkey slaughter being one of those things.
When we got to the farm late Saturday afternoon, I looked around at many of my friend’s faces that had also signed up for this same task—all our faces were blank and petrified. My heart was beating fast and I was regretting the decision I had made to follow through with this. What if I can’t do it? What if this picture never leaves my head? But what ended up happening I never would have seen coming. The animals perished with dignity while the students gained a sense of peace. Meghan, the head farmer, reminded us that since we helped them throughout their lives, we should help them through their death. As each person stepped up to take part they held the animal in such a caring way that I believed the turkeys were not alone during their death. It was an experience that I will never forget nor regret. Many of my peers who signed up for this task had the same intent as me: experience and to see what’s been happening behind the curtain for most of our life that we fail to think of when we eat the meat on our plate. Everyone’s experience coming out of the slaughter was different. I can say for me, that I was a meat eater and I still am. However, I think its important the way the animals die so I will now strive to only eat local meat where I know that the animal was taken care of through its life and death.
Learn more about self-sustainable living and food sources here at Chewonki by visiting our website.