To Veg or Not to Veg

I have recently moved in to a new room as the number of volunteers increases and the new volunteer house is not yet ready. As a result I am in a smelly damp room at the back of someones house, which backs on to a chicken farm. It is fine though, I have no complaints.

This morning though I went out and saw the owner of the building was making a fire near the chicken coop so I asked what he was up to with my limited Portuguese. I was pretty sure after leaving that he planned to kill a bird for the BBQ we were all having this afternoon.

Anyway I went back to the main volunteer house for breakfast and to pick up my towel so I could have a shower. I let the other volunteers know I may be back a bit late as I may want to watch the birds being killed…if I had understood correctly.

So I headed back and after some ropey Portuguese exchanges I was pretty certain they were about to kill a bird: Agora? Sim, agora.


In my head I was thinking, hey, maybe this will be the thing that sends me full veggie. I have been toying with the idea for over a year now and when I have control over what I eat, I will generally stear clear of meat, but having lived in the volunteer house we have been eating meat every day, frequently twice a day…but thats another story. 

Anyway here are the steps I witnessed:

  1. Select suitable duck, hold it by its wings and take it to clear space in the chicken coop. If other chickens and ducks happen to be watching, don’t try and save them from witnessing the slaughter of their mates, let them watch, they really don’t seem to give a shit.
  2. Lie the duck on its side, step on its wings, hold its head firmly so you can’t hear it beg for its life, and pull the feathers out of the front of its neck, so you can see where you are cutting.
  3. Push the dog away because it has loads of rank skin tags and floppy bits that you don’t want to touch the future meat, current duck.
  4. Get your knife, cut the throat. Maybe sharpen the knife first so you don’t have to saw through the neck. Welcome the other ducks and chickens as they gather round to drink the blood of their ex-housemates.
  5. Hold the duck for the next 3-4 minutes as it tries to get away. Its head is only just connected but it is still trying to get away. I have no idea why. I have heard of chickens running around headless but this duck was cut a good few minutes ago and looks pretty drained but the guy still seemed to feel the need to hold it down like it was going to fly to its freedom.
  6. I went for a shower at this point, my stomach was feeling a little bit odd.
  7. After the shower the deed is done, most of the blood has been cleaned from the floor by the dog and the other cannibal birds.
  8. Drop the birds in boiling water and pull their feathers out
  9. Go get dressed

I am in between slaughter and BBQ right now. Whether I want to eat them when they arrive this afternoon I do not know. The whole thing didn’t make me think urgghhh I wanna be a vegetarian. To be honest one of the worst things was that the other birds were all standing around watching but when they started drinking the blood I sort of lost sympathy, they didn’t seem to be experiencing any visible grief.

Points for improvement: maybe cut the head clean off. Don’t saw and let it slowly bleed to death


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