So much of day-to-day life confounds and amazes me. What makes my phone vibrate? How does this text appear as I press the letters on my wireless keyboard? How in the hell did this turn into my shirt? Some people understand this stuff. I don’t. Although, I sometimes wish I lived closer to the answers — that there was less distance between me and these processes that operate in the background. Sometimes my daydreams consist of making this a reality: No middleman. My friends and I are the process. And suddenly life gets a lot simpler because we’ll know how stuff works, or we’ll do without.
I recently had the opportunity to understand how chickens become meat. While some people are compelled to learn the inner-workings of cars, I want to understand my diet. I want to know how milk becomes cheese, how yeast makes bread rise, how wine becomes vinegar. This goal seems attainable enough, especially since a few of my friends are already doing it, and my motivation comes easily.
I didn’t eat meat for about three years during my mid 20s. Finding meat sources from humanely raised animals changed that, since I missed eating bacon and burgers and I wasn’t a very healthy vegetarian. Once I found meat sources that resembled old ways, rather than industrial meat-making machines, I embraced meat with gusto. Getting closer to my food source led to a greater awareness of animal anatomy and waste, in turn leading to interest in all the animal parts, not just the familiar cuts.
For years I’ve wondered if I could kill an animal for food, and now I know that I probably could. This experience was lighter in that I wasn’t attached to these roosters. And perhaps it’s even more difficult with mammals. But even so, I fully expected to cry, cringe, and seriously question my meat-eating ways, but that didn’t happen. It was a learning experience I shared with some close friends. And we killed roosters that had an easy life, thanks to their caretaker, Doug.
With some reservations, I decided to photograph the process. I think there is value in the educational nature of the photos, even if it’s only as a memory aid. If you’re interested, you can see more photos here.