"Slaughterhouse is the first book of its kind to explore the impact that unprecedented changes in the meatpacking industry over the last twenty-five years-particularly industry consolidation, increased line speeds, and deregulation-have had on workers, animals, and consumers. It is also the first time ever that workers have spoken publicly about what's really taking place behind the closed doors of America's slaughterhouses."
This was a really great read. I did not want to put it down! You would be baffled at what the USDA allows to slip through into the consumers food. It was very eye opening and brought me to tears a few times. I definitely recommend this book to anyone.
From the words of a slaughterhouse employee:
"In the morning the big holdup was the calves. To get done with them faster, we'd put eight or nine of them in the knocking box at a time. As soon as they start going in, you start shooting, the calves are jumping, they're all piling up on top of each other. You don't know which ones got shot and which ones didn't get shot at all, and you forget to do the bottom ones. They're hung anyway, and down the line they go, wriggling and yelling. The baby ones--two, three weeks old--I felt bad killing them so i just let them walk past. But it wasn't just the calves that went through conscious. It was a serious problem with the cows, and the bulls have even harder skulls. A lot I had to hit three or five times, ten times before they'd go down. There were plenty of times you'd have to make a big hole in their head, and still they'd be alive. I remember one bull with really long horns. I knocked it twice, some solid white stuff came out--brains, i guess--and it went down, its face all bloody. I rolled it into the shackling area. That bull must have felt the shackle going on its leg, it got up like nothing ever happened to it, it didn't even wobble, and took off out the back door, started running down Route 17 and just wouldn't stop. They went out and shot it with a rifle, dragged it back with the tractor."