The Frontal Cortex

Meat

Words of wisdom from Dario Checcini, the famous Tuscan butcher:

“The most important thing is what the animal eats and that it has a good life . . . just like us,” Cecchini says. “My philosophy is that the cow has to have had a really good life with the least suffering possible,” he says. “And every cut has to be cooked using the best cooking method. It’s a matter of respect. If I come back as a cow, I want to have the best butcher.

On a related note, I’ve been really enjoying The River Cottage Meat Book, bu Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It’s so much more than a cookbook: Fearnley-Whittingstall takes you behind the scenes of a small family farm, so that you see how, exactly, cattle, pigs and other animals are raised, slaughtered and eaten. (For instance, there are graphic pictures of a cow being killed with a bolt gun.) The book is filled with long digressions into the ethics of veal, the intelligence of pigs and the science of the bovine diet. The one caveat is that readers really shouldn’t attempt to recreate most of his pork recipes, which weren’t designed for the lean, tasteless white meat we call pork in America.

Comments

  1. #1 jb
    March 12, 2008

    Thank you Jonah. There are efforts on a large scale to make the slaughter of cattle a humane experience due in large part to the work of Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor at Colorado State University. If you google her name and slaughterhouse design you will find aol videos about her work, PETA awards and so on. Remarkably, she is autistic and has been written up by Oliver Sacks.

    It is harder to address how to raise cattle humanely en masse. A diet of grain is unnatural and produces a toxic variety of e coli as well as bovine flatulence which adds methane to greenhouse gases.

  2. #2 Epistaxis
    March 12, 2008

    For instance, there are graphic pictures of a cow being killed with a bolt gun.

    Are you sure? My understanding was that the bolt just stuns the beast (No Country for Old Men notwithstanding) so it won’t suffer as much when its throat is slit and the blood slowly drains out.

  3. #3 Alexandra
    March 13, 2008

    My understanding was that the bolt just stuns the beast…so it won’t suffer as much when its throat is slit and the blood slowly drains out.

    That’s exactly correct.

  4. #4 jonah
    March 13, 2008

    thanks so much for the correction. i was just looking at the pictures, and they showed a cow crumpled to the floor with some blood on its forehead. later pictures showed the bleeding out phase, but i assumed the cow was already dead.