Grazing: Abattoir

Quatrano and Harrison's Westside meat market

Here’s a scene from my early career. I was living in a small town in rural Georgia, a place where my big-city senses underwent continual shock. One very early morning, I awoke to the sound of screams. I’m talking blood-curdling screams. They seemed to come from several directions.

I threw on some clothes and hopped in the car. After all, I was a reporter and it appeared a mass murder was underway. What I found was that people were engaging in an annual ritual of the first freeze: butchering hogs. I’ve never forgotten the sound and the bloody scene I observed.

I suppose I am overly sentimental about animals. After that experience, it was many months before I could eat pork. I went years, too, without eating veal when I saw the conditions of crate-raised calves.

(Photo by James Camp)

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