Every Twelve Seconds

Every Twelve Seconds

Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight

Book - 2011
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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.

Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011
ISBN: 9780300152678
Branch Call Number: 664.9029 P1167e 2011
Characteristics: xii, 302 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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Dec 12, 2012

A very interesting, behind the scenes look at what happens at a slaughterhouse/meat packing plant. The first section is very dry, so I recommend starting the chapter on the kill-floor where it gets much more interesting. This is a real-life account about a very important part of our food system, and how the health rules are really just a game of safety vs. profits.


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