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In the Name of Food


by Janet Riddle
Our habit requires that blood be shed
So to slaughter the cattle head
Men with prods and a whip
Pack them in trucks for one last trip
Inside they struggle for fresh air
The horror is seen in their stare
Made to suffer in the cold or heat
Just because we call them meat
The last stop, the slaughter grounds
Where they'll be reduced to simple pounds
From the journey they are wore
But they must endure even more
Down the ramp they slip and slide
With no place for the injured to hide
Forced, they enter the winding coral
So large and wide they scrape the rail
They don't yet know where they are led
Or what's waiting in the killing shed
Pushed along like a food machine
They follow each other until the death is seen
To look ahead at each who fell
The nearing doom a caustic smell
Moved along, the one ahead drops
In utter terror he rears and stops
Racing heart, wide eyed with fright
The panic sets in at the sight
Now he knows the path to his fate
Begins right here at this bloody gate

If only this were a mistake
But the final step he was forced to take
Behind him the gate will close
All because of the food we chose
A captive bolt placed on his head
Stunned he falls but he's not dead
The assembly line begins here
Where billions come every year
In this room of bloody stains
A single back hoof is attached to chains
Off the ground his body is flung
To await the knife he is hung
But he wakes up, this isn't rare
And he's too much for one leg to bear
Tendons tear and bones break
He swings and struggles for life's sake
Ghastly terror and unrelenting pain
His screams and bellows are in vain
Man, unfeeling to his brutal strife
Slice him open with a knife
His body shakes, blood pours out
A simple meal we're talking about
One last gasp as he's bled
His anguish over, now he's dead

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