Welcome to The Jungle
What is it they say about having to get your hands dirty to actually become part of the solution? I distinctly remember there was a phrase that would be outstanding in this context but I can’t come up with it. Maybe it will come to me later.
The point being that Sally had tried joining PETA and protesting and such but found that nothing actually changed. The only way to make a difference was to become part of the problem and try to make it less cruel in some small fashion. Case in point … she got a job at a slaughterhouse. She knew what went on inside these buildings but she also knew that holding a sign out front wasn’t going to improve the quality of life for the animals within so she applied for a job. She was very honest about her intentions and the owner of the facility, perhaps feeling a slight pang of guilt over how he made a living, immediately hired her and gave her his blessing.
It would be her job to stun the cattle with a cartridge-fired captive bolt pistol. Typically it’s at this point that the worst cruelty goes on. If the person doing it doesn’t take the time to do the job correctly the animal is still conscious when the carotid artery and jugular vein are severed and they hang there kicking and shrieking while the life bleeds out of them. The man with the knife is judge, jury and executioner and every cow in there is guilty. Guilty of being delicious.
If that’s the reality of the situation, she was going to make sure the process was as humane as possible. Typically the person holding the gun is responsible for stunning a thousand head an hour. Sally is not held to that standard; she does as many as she can. After the head is in the restraining device she strokes it and whispers to it and only after her heart breaks just a little will she send the bolt crashing through the skull and on into the cerebrum and cerebellum. She takes her time and does it right.
Now, about the man with the knife. This job attracted sadists for the same reason the clergy attracts pedophiles.
That was the other benefit of being the person with the stun gun. Sally can encourage the person with the knife to do a good job.
It took a few accidents to make it clear to all involved that she wouldn’t hesitate to send that very same bolt through the soft tissue of anyone who seemed to be taking the responsibilities of making the fatal incision lightly. She was wildly unpopular with the first few men and she made them wildly in need of medical assistance.
Sally reads a lot about various actresses who force their crews to eat vegan or wear vegan footwear and she wonders if these women actually allow their press agents to convince them they’re making a difference. Of course, she can’t throw too many stones as she realizes her own limitations. She just can’t bring herself to take a position involving the veal pens. She knows the poor calves would benefit from her kindness but she just doesn’t think she could handle it.
“You have to be a special kind of person,” she thinks to herself. Like the nurses in the childhood oncology units. She always felt to be able to wash off the grief at the end of the day and not carry it with you is a rare gift.
The slaughterhouse is bad enough. The slaughterhouse with its daily horrors. The slaughterhouse that can never be used as a model or good example of a more civilized approach because it’s obvious that Sally is costing them money.
Often she washes off the stink of the day in the same shower as the owner. Did I forget to mention that? She won’t allow herself to fall in love because she feels that it would be just way too cliché. The owner does not feel the same although he still won’t allow her to put any of her “hippie” bumper stickers on his car.
There’s a saying about beef that springs to mind that would be outstanding in this context but I’m not sure if it would make this story too Axl Rose and not enough Upton Sinclair.