The Slaughter We Don’t See

Mar 14 2012 @ 6:23pm

Mark Bittman ponders the new book Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight by Timothy Pachirat:

12 seconds is the frequency with which the Omaha slaughterhouse where Pachirat worked for five months killed cattle, a total of around 2,500 per day. Pachirat, whom I interviewed by phone earlier this week, took the job not as an animal rights activist but as a doctoral candidate in political science seeking to understand the normalization of violence. Like others, he concluded that our isolation from killing allows us to tolerate unimaginably cruel practices simply because we don’t see them. But Pachirat emphasizes that it’s not only we — consumers — who are isolated from the killing, but workers: at his plant only seven people out of 800 were directly involved with live cattle, and only four with killing.