Some time ago, my friends in "the quartet" and I were discussing vegetarians and omnivores. I am an unabashed omnivore, Jack eats only fish and vegetables, and I have some progeny who are vegetarians, and another who is vegan -- makes family get-togethers "interesting".
Here is something I wrote the others in the quartet:
When we were kids, there was a slaughterhouse in the back field. I have no idea what prompted this, but one day three or four of us went there and asked if we could watch. They let us, and it was fascinating.
It was a very small-time operation. They led a cow into a contraption, whistled at it, shot it, and then proceeded to butcher it. I don't remember much, but it didn't gross me out or anything. It was just matter-of-fact -- sort of like watching my uncle kill several chickens one time when visited him on the farm. It the was all of the tone, "We kill animals to eat them, and this is how we do it."
I don't think I had any feelings of cruelty or of sympathy; it was just matter of fact.
I had been fascinated by both procedures, though, to the point that when I had children I wondered if it was something they should see, just to know how it takes place. Most of my friends thought I was nuts, but a century and longer ago, watching an animal be butchered for food was not at all uncommon for people living in rural areas. I have never done any killing and butchering myself, though.
I continued to the quartet,
On the other hand, there was my mother. One time my dad went fishing, brought home the fish and dumped them in the kitchen sink. She looked at them and said, "Poor little things," and he never went fishing again.
However, the father of a friend down the street brought home some fish one day, and we watched him clean and fillet them to prepare them for dinner. Again, it was matter of fact: we eat fish and animals, and so this is part of the process.