My first book, Animal Dharma, explores what it means to care deeply about animals and discovers how we can live peacefully with ourselves and others by proposing four key values: truth, compassion, non-violence and interbeing, the interrelatedness of all. Links to audio extracts (MP3 files) will be added to this page (see below).
I worked on the post-slaughter part of the production line. The workers at the front end had to start work one half-hour earlier than the rest of us because it took that amount of time to hang a live chicken on the conveyor belt, kill her, complete the evisceration and run the body through the scalding tank to remove the feathers and “sanitize” the carcass. The smell of thousands of live birds, fresh from the factory farm and their death hung like a pall over the plant and its surrounding area. I stood on the production line with dead chickens approaching me every minute. The birds were neatly folded in preparation for the freezing process. Someone up the line placed a weight label on her breast. My job was to place the carcass in a plastic bag (keeping the weight label in position) while squeezing out the air and twisting the bag and sealing it by running it through a sticky tape machine. Thus, the chicken was ready for freezing as I placed it on a large cart that was wheeled into a walk-in freezer.
There was now no turning back on a journey of discovery into the disturbing side to human nature and what we do to animals. I recall as a young boy Kate Ward, an elderly lady who rescued dogs in my home town, and how it awakened in me a feeling of compassion for animals. Now, aged 18, I worked in a chicken processing plant which exposed me to the shocking truth of institutional commercial animal exploitation. I began to ask myself how was it possible that people like Kate Ward devoted her life to rescuing dogs but I was willing to work on a production line transforming live chickens into food?
Animal Dharma Podcast #1 Camberley Kate Ward.
Animal Dharma Podcast #2 Chicken Slaughterhouse.
Animal Dharma Podcast #3 Becoming a Vegelical in the 1970s
Animal Dharma Podcast #4 The Misanthropic Bunker
Read my essay, The Way of Vegan.