Mass animal slaughter (Abstract only)

Steven Braun (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Eisnitz, 2007, Position 526

Animal husbandry and animal slaughter is almost as old as mankind itself. However, the commercialized breeding of animals in large groups through factory farming and the industrialised killing of animals through mass animal slaughter is a relatively new practice.

This paper will evaluate industrialised forms of mass animal slaughter. It will analyse manuals, laws, artefacts, photos, and illustrations. It will further explore writings of historians, social scientists and philosophers. In order to identify violent practices within the slaughtering process, the experiences of workers in such factories in particular are awaited.

In order to be able to take a praxeological perspective, this paper examines elements that ultimately refer to mass animal slaughter as a practice. These elements are: (1) exemplariness, (2) repetition over space and time, (3) corporeality, (4) artefacts, (5) collective familiarity and (6) intersubjectivity. Even if some of these are not necessarily present, they (or their absence) help(s) to identify an action as a technique or practice.

First, drawing from relevant literature, this paper will consider whether violence can exist between humans and animals. If so, is the mass slaughter of animals a practice? In order to answer this question, while reading the texts, one must continuously re-establish references to the elements that render an action a practice that is distinct from a technique. For this reason, images and documents recreate the steps of industrialized killing.


Eisnitz, G. A. 2007. Slaughterhouse. The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. New York: Prometheus Books.