Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight - Timothy Pachirat
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Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight - Timothy Pachirat

Written by Timothy Pachirat
Edition: 2013
Format(s): PDF
Language: English

Publication Date: March 29, 2013 | ISBN-10: 0300192487 | ISBN-13: 978-0300192483

This is an account of industrialized killing from a participant’s point of view. The author, political scientist Timothy Pachirat, was employed undercover for five months in a Great Plains slaughterhouse where 2,500 cattle were killed per day—one every twelve seconds. Working in the cooler as a liver hanger, in the chutes as a cattle driver, and on the kill floor as a food-safety quality-control worker, Pachirat experienced firsthand the realities of the work of killing in modern society. He uses those experiences to explore not only the slaughter industry but also how, as a society, we facilitate violent labor and hide away that which is too repugnant to contemplate.

Through his vivid narrative and ethnographic approach, Pachirat brings to life massive, routine killing from the perspective of those who take part in it. He shows how surveillance and sequestration operate within the slaughterhouse and in its interactions with the community at large. He also considers how society is organized to distance and hide uncomfortable realities from view. With much to say about issues ranging from the sociology of violence and modern food production to animal rights and welfare, Every Twelve Seconds is an important and disturbing work.

"A truly stunning achievement. Every Twelve Seconds takes us into the slaughterhouse and asks: Why do we work so hard to conceal the daily routine of industrialized killing? The result is a masterpiece that is as sophisticated as it is hard to put down."--Steve Striffler, author ofChicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America's Favorite Food

"This is a masterful expose, written in crystalline prose. In tying the cruelty and dehumanization of industrialized slaughter to the politics of sight, the book adds to a growing canon of recent work . . . by extending people's understanding of and exacerbating human repugnance to one of the great moral failings of current times. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"Pachirat's prose and tone are readable, horrific, and compelling. The documentary spell it casts recalls the steady, unflinching eye of Orwell'sRoad to Wigan Pier. Astonishing."--John Bowe, author of Nobodies: Slave Labor in Modern America and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy

"Timothy Pachirat's courageous study of kill floor work exposes the fiction of "humane" slaughter. This book is required reading for people who care about animals and for those interested in how distance and concealment operate in our society."--Gene Baur, President of Farm Sanctuary and author of Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food

Complete with meticulous diagrams showing each worker's position in the slaughterhouse, descriptions of each worker's job duties, and an appendix detailing cattle body parts and their uses, this compelling documentary work illuminates in great detail the workings of an industrial slaughterhouse. VERDICT For anyone curious about the origin of beef in America or those interested in the politics of concealment.--Diana Hartle, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens, Library Journal

"Pachirat’s extraordinary narrative tells us about much more than abused animals and degraded workers. It opens our eyes to the kind of society in which we live."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation
(Peter Singer 2011-07-07)

“The book is superbly written, especially given the grimness of the subject.”—Mark Bittman, The New York Times, Opinionator column
(Mark Bittman The New York Times)

“A lucid writer, Pachirat excels in explaining how a slaughterhouse works.”—Ted Conover, The Nation
(Ted Conover The Nation)

"A fascinating, gut-wrenching study—but absolutely not for the weak of stomach."—Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus Reviews)

Book Description
A political scientist goes undercover in a modern industrial slaughterhouse to provide an account of killing work from the perspective of those who carry it out. He offers a thought-provoking report on the industry—and on the society responsible for it.

Product Details

Series: Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (March 29, 2013)

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