Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slaughter v. Harvest

We have been asked recently why we continue to use the term "slaughter" in favor of the current trend toward using other terms such as "harvest" to describe the killing of farm animals raised for food. It's a somewhat tricky question, as we don't wish to offend anyone or seem to be passing judgment on their choice of terminology. I'll just say that there are definite reasons we choose to say "slaughter;" please hear me out and know that I respect your choice, whatever it may be.

First, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions. Harvest: (1) The act or process of gathering in a crop; (2) to gather, catch, hunt or kill (as salmon, oysters, or deer) for human use, sport, or population control. Slaughter: To kill (animals) for food.

Do you see the distinction? "Harvest," by the second definition, is clearly referring to wild animals, those "caught" or "hunted" as opposed to those specifically raised for food. Also, we feel that using "harvest" in the context of killing chickens or turkeys for food (vaguely grouping this process with "gathering in a crop") is frankly euphemistic.

Our position, then, is simply that we feel more comfortable using the term "slaughter." If you prefer to use "harvest," please do let me know; I am interested in your point of view and the reasons for your preference. I think it would be a good topic to have a discussion about.

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