Reporters are embedded in modern warfare operations. On television we may daily watch real people getting killed for real.

But some killing floors are off limits. In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma the author Michael Pollan tries to analyze modern food production. At one point he was denied all access: To the killing floors of modern slaughterhouses. They are No Trespassing territory to all reporters. And for good reasons! The food industry realizes that if the public really saw how the butchery went on, there would be another attitude regarding what one eats. Just reading about it is sickening. In one slaughterhouse 400 cattle are killed per hour. There is ‘only’ an error rate of maximum 5 per cent (much higher before the public demanded that McDonald and other meat providers do something). This means that not more than 20 cattle an hour are still alive when they are skinned and hooked up upside down etc.

I am not in the business of animal rights or making a mission for vegetarianism. But I do think that animals have some kind of consciousness or emotions or intelligence. Reading about the industry of meat, or egg production or pig farms etc, where animals are deprived of any natural way of living and develop nervous, aggressive and unnatural behavior (hurting, killing and eating each other etc) make me agree to what Pollan is saying: This is something the world at least should see. Then we might at least make a more informed choice about what we eat.

By the way: I do not really recommend the book unless you are able to read vertically. Like many American books it has no more substance than justifying an article (and the book is 411 pp). But the author has some very interesting and well made points.