Goats cry when butchers slaughter them

Female Butcher: Women assert themselves in a male domain

20 seconds. More must not pass between bolt firing and stabbing, opening the veins of animals for slaughter. This is required by the animal welfare law for slaughterings, which is uniformly regulated throughout Europe by Regulation (EC) No.
20 seconds, which means maximum concentration for Isabell Wiesner. Other people present - usually participants in the slaughter courses offered by her and her husband Christoph - are allowed to approach the farmer within a maximum of three meters during this time. “I once had a photographer with me who was almost under the pig. When I have to shoot and stab, however, I cannot take into account whether someone has a clear line of sight. Since then, I've insisted on keeping my distance, «explains Wiesner. Otherwise she could not guarantee animal-friendly slaughter, that is to say as fear-free, pain-free and stress-free as possible - which Wiesner is deeply reluctant to do.

Routine, but not routine

Slaughtering without stress means killing the animal in its familiar surroundings, for example in the field in the herd, as Isabell and Christoph Wiesner do. The two dropouts have been breeding free-range Mangalitza pigs on their organic farm "Arche De Wiskentale" in Wischathal in Lower Austria since 1999. Isabell Wiesner remembers her first killing very clearly: a goat, shortly before dying, that she wanted to relieve from its suffering. “It wasn't that I refused, but until then it was always clear to me: Christoph will shoot. He was on vacation, however. On the phone, he explained to me where to put the battle gun, «Wiesner explains. Today she shoots and stabs once, once her husband, depending on who is in the better position to act quickly.

“There is always respect and humility involved, no matter how often and how much we slaughter. That is important, this is the only way we can deliver good quality. "
Isabel Wiesner, farmer

Not just a man's thing

Isabell and Christoph Wiesner regularly pass on their knowledge and many years of experience in the breeding, slaughtering and processing of Mangalitzas in courses and workshops at home and abroad. There are almost always women among the participants. Clichéd thinking is out of place here, even if slaughtering and cutting up larger animals requires a certain amount of physical strength, which women like to deny. "If the pig weighs 150 kilos, everyone has a hard time, regardless of whether they are men or women," explains Isabell Wiesner. Many of the participants primarily want to deal more consciously with the topic of meat consumption and gain a better insight into the production system.

One of them is nutrition and health scientist Theres Rathmanner, who also benefits professionally from her participation in the course. She can now dispute discussions about meat eating more authentically and vividly, even if she has only been a spectator at slaughtering so far. “It would only be logical for me to slaughter myself once. But I still have this step ahead of me, ”said Rathmanner. Award-winning chef Simone Jäger has also been a guest on the Arche three times. Originally, she should have applied what she had learned as the chef of a wine tavern with her own pig farming. Before the first bolt shot, however, I changed jobs »I learned how to process whole animals during my training. But it makes a difference whether you just cut up or also kill and eviscerate. Most recently, I assisted Isabell with stirring the cold blood, but that is another emotional level, ”Jäger muses.

In fact, neo-farmer Alexandra Kaminek actually laid hands on it herself. Together with her husband Oliver, she has been managing the »Biohof No. 5 «in Vienna-Stammersdorf, where Mangalitzas and chickens are kept and slaughtered for personal use. “We messed up our first slaughter, the animal got away from us. Anyone who has ever tried to catch a full-grown pig on an area of ​​0.5 hectare knows that it is rather hopeless, ”remembers Kaminek. Three days later, the Wiesner family stood by their side and since then every slaughter has been going smoothly, even on their own. In order to be able to sell the meat in the tavern and on the farm, animals are occasionally brought to the butcher for slaughter. For Kaminek, however, an essential aspect is lost: »Outsourcing steps makes work easier, but not satisfactory. Christoph and Isabell taught us to carefully and calmly disassemble and process nose to tail. A butcher can't do that. "

International movement

The number of meat lovers who want to know how animals are professionally killed and processed is also increasing abroad. The range of slaughter courses is now correspondingly large, especially in the USA. The driving force behind the female nose-to-tail movement is Kate Hill from California. The trained cook has lived and taught the art of French charcuterie on her farm "Camont" in France since 1990, from where she travels the world to teach the art of butchering to both laypeople and professionals. In 2011 she founded the international women's network “Grrls Meat Camp”, through which women farmers, butchers, cooks and other women support each other and share their knowledge of meat processing. After meetings on American farms, a workshop was held in Australia for the first time in 2016 due to the high demand from young farmers. Meat and traditional gender roles, that was probably a time.

Complete article in falstaff CAREER 05/2017.