The Abattoir – Poultry – Warning: Graphic Images

Done once or twice a week, today at The Garden of Spices it was the time for the processing of live poultry, a process done at the farm for their own birds as well as those from other area farms. This is reality. As an omnivore, I do not shy away from the necessities that bring meat to my table. I do my best, however, to assure that it comes from farms where the animals are raised humanely and abattoirs where they are slaughtered as humanely and cleanly as possible. The Garden of Spices, a true small family farm, fits on both counts.

Please do not read the rest of this post if you are not prepared to see graphic images of a poultry slaughterhouse.

Chickens awaiting their fate

Selecting the bird


The chicken is placed upside down in a collecting cone. Its throat is swiftly cut.

The bird quickly exsanguinates



The dead birds are collected…

…and scalded at 150ºF for easier plucking


Then shifted to a container…


… in which their feathers easily come off under a hose.

Any remaining feathers are plucked off.

The defeathered bird is removed…

…passed through an opening into another room…

…and de-offaled.

The bird is packaged…

The offal gets sorted…

…and packaged separately. These are duck hearts.

Duck heads are bought by an Italian restaurant in NYC.

All parts of the birds are collected and sold.

While this is not a job that I would relish, it is a necessary job for someone to do if we are to be omnivores. That it is done with efficiency, dispatch and respect at The Garden of Spices is something that I truly appreciate. It is a part of life that in today's world few of us ever get to see or experience. It is easy to become disconnected from reality, especially when purchasing neatly packaged "cuts" in a supermarket. I believe that it is important to understand that the meat that we eat and enjoy has come from once living creatures that must command our respect and appreciation. I don't believe that either truly comes without an understanding of what it takes to put that meat on our plates.

This entry was posted in Food and Drink, On the Farm, Slow Food, Upstate NY and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Abattoir – Poultry – Warning: Graphic Images

  1. craig says:

    AMAZING POST SCONZO! i wish this could be in the new york times or something to show people where there food comes from. i wonder how many people would a) waste there food b) eat meat, i have been to a chicken slaughterhouse and a beef both were pretty intense, i can say i questioned rather or not i wanted to keep eating meat because i felt bad, i still feel bad but i just make sure when i cook something i dont waste which has carried over to mainly all of my cooking, instead of buying something else to add to a dish i try to take things out.

  2. Gerald Erchak says:

    Killing chickens bothers me not at all–I was exposed to this as a child on my grandmother’s farm. There is a film about a repressed British woman who goes to France on vacation. In the film, a freshly butchered chicken is exsanguinated over a hot fry pan! The resulting “pancake” of blood is apparently a great delicacy. Have you heard of this? The British woman in the film (Maggie Smith?) faints dead away at the sight.

  3. Jen says:

    I came upon your post when I was trying to find out more about “The Garden of Spices” because I had read that they were a supplier to a restaurant that I would be dining at. I will be upfront in saying that I was rather disturbed to read that they raise rabbits for slaughter, and that was what prompted my search (can you confirm if this is still the case?). I personally prefer to avoid eating at restaurants that perpetuate the sale of rabbits for/as food.
    While the reality is that the process of killing is the reason that many of “us” choose to avoid eating meat, I do appreciate your honest and thoughtful response to your experiences at the farm. I think it is fair to say that most people refuse to make the connection between the slab of meat on their plate to the life that was given for that meal. I really have to commend you for having the guts to see what these animals go through for your dinner and to support a smaller (hopefully more humane) farm.
    Now if they would only stop treating the third most popular pet in america (yes, rabbits) as part of a gourmet meal…

  4. John Sconzo says:

    Jen, thank you for your comment and question. As with any animal, I have nothing against raising rabbits for food so long as they are raised (and slaughtered humanely). Nevertheless, I appreciate that eating rabbit, as eating anything, is a personal choice. That being said, I am not aware of, nor did I see any evidence that rabbits are raised for slaughter (or otherwise) at The Garden of Spices.

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