The meat instructor had asked us if we would volunteer to go with him after class the following Friday afternoon, to a CSA (community sustained agriculture) farm just outside of New Paltz, New York and help him slaughter 100 chickens.
I believe, as many others do, that if you aren’t a vegan or otherwise strict vegetarian, you should someday kill something. Not just observe a slaughter, but touch an animal and end its life. So I said yes, I’d volunteer. About 16 or so others said yes, too. Wear old clothes, we were told. Bring a boning knife. Sharpen and hone the knife. Bring an extra t-shirt, because you’re going to get dirty. We’d carpool and caravan to the farm.
The ride there took about half an hour, through New Paltz, up along a steady slope to where the Shawangunk Ridge pitches itself straight against the sky. During the whole trip, grey banks of clouds hid the sun, spat down some rain, and retreated. The mountains are a dark blue and green; looking at them at that moment, they were so beautiful you understood why people will fight so hard to stay alive.
Next: This isn’t the first time I’d driven up a mountain to slaughter birds.