Backyard Processing Ban?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by CountryGoalie, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    I am cross-posting this from an anti-animal rights group that I am on. This affects not just goats, but ANY animal raised for consumption that you wish to process yourself. Now, I know, some of you are saying, "It's in Schenectady, NY; it doesn't affect me." I, for one, live in NY, an hour or two away from the place, and I've written to the appropriate officials opposing the ban on "backyard slaughter". If this gets passed, it will be yet another foothold for the animal rights activists and a tarnish against our rights as citizens to butcher our own meat. Please, no matter where you are located, take the time to write a letter to the town officials.


    ARAs have posted this and asked for letters to the editor be sent, I
    hope alot of people opposed to banning backyard slaughter will also write.


    Got Your Goat?

    It was refreshing to hear that there was a large turnout at
    Schenectady's public hearing about proposed legislation to ban home
    slaughter of livestock for food. It was even more refreshing to hear
    that most people who spoke were opposed to the ban, even though those
    speaking up were not those most likely to be most affected--the city's
    Guyanese population.

    The twists and turns and emotions involved in the proposed ban are a
    good example of what happens when government officials (not to mention
    the people who complain to them) don't get beyond their gut reactions,
    and when people trying to avoid a difficult conversation by discovering
    a new justification for a proposed action other than the one actually at
    issue. If the people of Schenectady aren't listened to on this (the vote
    is still to come, but I imagine this hearing will have an effect on it),
    it could be one more instance of a culturally dominant group imposing
    something that they think of as bedrock values (which do exist and are
    sometimes worth imposing) but is really just cultural discomfort.

    Let's trace the story: Some innocent kids witness their neighbors
    killing a goat, ironically shortly after a visit to a petting zoo. It's
    a noisy, messy, and thoroughly unpleasant process, and the kids are
    understandably upset. The parents say something to the effect of "Oh my
    god, they're killing animals next door? There should be a law." And a
    concerned Mayor Stratton, who wants very much to be responsive to his
    constituents, proposes such a law, citing health concerns.

    Reached Monday, Stratton said the ban was "common sense" and about both
    health and "psychological" concerns. "Things that are common practice in
    the old days and out in the country" make less sense "where you measure
    distance to your neighbors in inches or feet, not yards or miles," said

    But I haven't yet heard an argument that when peeled down really gets
    beyond the fact that urban and suburbanite white folks aren't used to
    being around their meat when it's killed. Not to mention most of them
    also aren't used to thinking of goats as a meat animal.

    If we needed any confirmation of this, Stratton said last Thursday (Jan.
    6) that he would exempt the dressing of kills made by hunters from the
    ban, which was originally worded to include "butchering, curing and
    dressing." Stratton told the Times Union he didn't want to interfere
    with anyone's legal right to hunt. Which trumps your equally legal right
    to eat food?

    I have yet to see an argument that there are sanitary concerns that
    arise from actually killing an animal for food on your property that are
    significantly worse than, or categorically different from: dressing a
    kill from a hunt; preparing a whole animal bought from a butcher; or
    even serving rare meat. Unless everyone's home kitchens and served meals
    are going to be inspected like restaurants, then singling out home
    butchers for health reasons seems quite beside the point. In fact, unfair.

    (If there are particular issues with, say, animal cruelty or the dumping
    of carcasses, those can and should be handled with increased education
    about and enforcement of existing laws.)

    Further evidence that there are some cultural gaps contributing to the
    discomfort appear when the question of religious practice is brought
    into it, as both the media coverage and city officials have done. Just
    the mention of "animal sacrifice" sends many people into conniptions.

    >From the first Times Union story about the proposal: "City officials
    said they are unsure if the animals are being killed for meat or as part
    of a religious ritual." As if those are two separate things. People I've
    known who've studied a little about Voudoun and Santeria say that that
    split is generally an artificial one. Animals that are "sacrificed" are
    almost always intended to be eaten. The difference between animal
    sacrifice and saying grace is merely whether you say the prayers before
    the animal is killed or before it is eaten, say these folks. In other
    words, a technicality. I don't know how much of the home butchering in
    Schenectady has a religious element to it, but the only difference it
    would make if it did would be to add a constitutional protection to the
    act. Again, let's focus on what's actually bothering people.

    The issue appears to be rolled up in culture clash and that wonderful
    phrase "quality of life." Let's talk about it as such. People living
    nearby each other in urban situations do have a responsibility to be
    respectful of their neighbors and their right to generally enjoy their
    lives without undue infringement.

    Not that it's easy. Noise, for example, especially overloud music, is a
    persistent problem in dense urban areas. But despite the difficulties
    with it, most people would never think of banning music, or stereos, in
    order to deal with the problem. We set some sort of threshold--a decibel
    level, or a standard like "music should not be audible from another's
    living space." Depending on the clarity of the standard, how well it's
    known, and how well it's enforced, it can work out fairly well. Outside
    of the legal realm, when you have two neighbors who are both mature and
    interested in being good neighbors but have different standards about
    volume, a combination of occasional requests to turn it down that are
    honored, and occasional notices given that a big party is going to be
    held go a long way.

    So with the home butchering question, what's the actual problem? Kids
    witnessing an unpleasant scene.

    If this really needs legislation, perhaps it should be on the order of
    requiring that home butchering be done behind a screen, or in some other
    way shielding the act from neighbors' view. An education campaign might
    encourage those who are about to do some butchering to let their
    immediate neighbors know, so that kids can be either kept inside, or
    given the proper preparation to put the experience in context.

    After all, though I don't want to downplay the shock of the scene too
    much--it's really not something I'd like to stumble over unawares
    either--seeing animals killed for meat rarely traumatizes farm kids or
    kids in the homes where it is done regularly. It's those who are removed
    from the source of the meat that they eat, who are taken by surprise by
    what they've witnessed, and who are given to believe from the adults
    around them that what they've seen really was horrible, who are going to
    end up in a bad state. And that experience, however real, is not a good
    basis for public policy.

    --Miriam Axel-Lute

    VOL 28, ISSUE 2: JANUARY 13, 2005 EDITION


    It is imperative that all correspondence be courteous, or this campaign will suffer.

    City Council Members:

    Mark Blanchfield, City Council President
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Frank Maurizio, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Cathy Lewis, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Peter Della Ratta, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Barbara Strongfeld, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Joe Allen, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Denise Brucker, City Council Member
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305

    Brian Stratton, Mayor
    City Hall
    105 Jay St.
    Schenectady, NY 12305
    518-382-5272 (fax)
  2. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    That's right. Same with gun control. Every "little" win, even locally, can hurt the "big" picture. The more it's accepted the easier crap like this can happen in your town ... or state/nationwide.

  3. BillHoo

    BillHoo Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2005
    Unfotrunately, the mayor's constituents in Schenectady are more likely to buy their goat packed in styrofoam and plastic wrap rather than humanely killed on their own property.

    Yes, his claims are bogus, but it will ensure support for his vote come electiontime. Sad.