Ted Conover’s “The Way of All Flesh: Undercover In An Industrial Slaughterhouse” left me deeply disturbed. As a USDA Meat Inspector at Cargill Meat Solutions, Conover peels back the curtain on the grim reality of industrial meat production. The article’s straightforward account of processes, unsanitary conditions, and the sheer scale of mass production evokes a visceral sense of disgust.
Reading through the narrative, I couldn’t escape the ethical dilemma and the unsettling gap between the food on our plates and its production. Conover’s detailed exploration prompts uncomfortable reflections on the decisions made behind the scenes of our dietary choices. The article serves as a stark reminder of the hidden costs behind our convenient access to meat, leaving me with a lasting sense of dismay about the harsh truths within the food industry.
After reading this article, I learned a lot about the process of inspecting beef which was disturbing. They go into a lot of detail about what they do and even explain how the cow looked scared for their life before getting killed. These are things we usually don’t think about in our day-to-day lives, so when you do read something like this, it can be eye-opening. What shocked me the most was when they went into detail about how they cut each body part of the cow to be inspected. That job is definitely overwhelming, and I don’t think I could ever do that. When I eat any kind of meat, I try my best to not really think about what I’m eating or else I will feel disgusted and just not eat, but after reading this, I’ll probably take a break from beef for a little while.
Ted Conover’s “The Way of all Flesh” shares his experience as a new USDA meat inspector at the Cargill’s Schuler, Nebraska plant. He describes the cow slaughtering process he witnessed on the kill floor and the inspection of their organs, livers, and hearts to ensure there are no abnormalities and up to standards. Conover shares different experiences of learning the basics of the job from knife cuts to identifying what should be stamped as well as their work atmosphere and the interactions between colleagues. Towards the end of the author’s story, the author starts to feel conflicted with ethical concerns of continuing to eat beef after everything they had witnessed. If I were in their situation, I could never have eaten beef and I started to tear up, feeling nauseated from just imagining the description of the cow slaughter process. It was surprising that the author was capable of enjoying eating beef after describing the death of each cow with their possible final thoughts. I do think the meat processing industry is more trustworthy with their inspections, making sure everything meets USDA standards unlike before the legislation mandating inspection but is still ethically wrong. Lately, I have been trying to switch to vegetarianism or pescetarianism due to a personal preference for diet but after reading this, I feel more strongly to switch immediately without hesitation.
My thoughts on “the way of all flesh”: To be honest it was very hard to read. I have a super soft spot for animals. learning about the way cattle is slaughtered almost made cry, especially because cattle are very smart animals as one of the workers states ” they’re scared. they don’t want to die.” I feel as even though they are animals they should still have a proper/humane way of leaving. overall, the blog was very interesting and made think that most of hospitality jobs are the same, such as the industry being male dominated and workers being overworked. It was interesting to know that veterinarian go and inspect the cattle to make sure they don’t have any wounds or illness. In the end it for sure made think about how much beef I consumed and made me start thinking about cutting back.
sorry professor i think i posted the first blog in the wrong category
After reading the article “The Way of All Flesh,” written by Ted Conover, I gained an understanding of how the meat-packing industry handles cattle (beef). Conover discusses the process of the meat being slaughtered and inspected at each phase in the plant from his POV as a new meat inspector for the USDA. Workers thoroughly inspect the carcass for any irregularities, such as tonsils, or any serious infection. Tonsils are considered “specific risk materials” (SRM) and must be disposed of. If the cattle show any sign of infection, a blue tag must be attached so a veterinarian can examine them. Though the article was highly informative, I was taken aback by some of the contents that were mentioned, such as the cattle being shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun. The description of the aftermath was quite disturbing to read. I do not consume beef often, but after reading the article, I will feel a little bit uncomfortable knowing how this piece of beef ended up on my plate. Not to mention, the amount of Manuel labor it takes to be a meat inspector has shocked me. Conover detailed the excruciating pain he felt in his hands and arms after the first few weeks of work. The turnover rate in the meat industry is exceptionally high and physical labor can be a leading cause.
The introduction of the Article “The way of all flesh” by Ted Conover starts with of how cattle are dropped at a facility cite where 5,100 cattle are slaughtered per day. The number in itself makes us wonder about the efficacy of the whole system. The process starting from how the leading the cows in to kill floor to how they are murdered (for lack of better verbiage). How the process of mass murder of these animals, who are often ill-treated, bred for the sole purpose of being killed and consumed, have most probably never seen a green pasture, are done deprived of any emotional connection from the people performing these acts due to the system’s very productive way of separating the processes and keeping certain part of it hidden from view. In my opinion being omnivore as a human is not a bad act in itself, there are cycle of nature and life in place even in the wild. The primary cause of my concern is the fact that we are slaughtering in the name of availability/security of food in a consumeristic society where food insecurity still exists in large proportion. Moreover, will there ever be a point when we can go back and correct our process of treating animals so inhumanely and put may be a little of love in the process. Will I stop consuming meat? Probably not. Will I find a way to research my source and try to find a more plausible way where I know that are at least being killed with a little respect and love. Definitely.
I’m going to be very honest – this piece should not have been formatted as an article. This is written as if it were to be a novella/novelette than a lengthy article. In terms of anything surprising in the “article,” I’m honestly not surprised. Growing up, I had a brother who was a devout vegan and animal rights activist, so many of the horror stories about the meat packing/processing industry I heard about through him and doing my own extensive research throughout high school. It does bring back some thoughts about trying to go vegan myself, but with my health it would be impractical to do so. Regardless, it’s fascinating to hear from the perspective of someone who works in a processing plant and is grappling with existentialism, all while continuing with the status quo as they realize there’s not a lot they can do.
The Way of All Flesh: Undercover In An Industrial Slaughterhouse is a step by step experience told by Ted Conover, a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat Inspector, about his kitchen tour at Cargill Meat Solutions. This article explains every detail on how the cows are bought into the slaughterhouse and prepped to be shipped to a restaurant or a grocery store nearest you. Ted goes into depth on how each of the body parts on the cows are cut and how they are inspected post cut from head to toe. What surprised me most about the process is how people can stomach being around something so gruesome for a living. It hurts my heart, but it is also very interesting to know how we have evolved from hunters and gathers. A lot of machinery really does most of the hard work these days, but its very important that we have USDA Agents and Meat Inspectors so we as consumers do not fall ill. With that being said, I don’t think I will be able to ever stop eating meat.
When reading the first few paragraphs, you don’t just get your simple introduction, but you start off the bat with the whole process and troubles with meats. The whole cattle, which is cow, being bruised and how the drivers are crazy drivers. Then getting to the middle, the protagonist is getting better with identifying the meats and has managed to learn about knife skills with meats. They start talking about the knife itself, the sharpening process and how it is a whole different skill in addition to knife skills. Near the end, the protagonist is at work, as they were the whole time, and they are noticing patterns with the animal meats. How several livers in a row had abscesses and the meat being hard to cut, but also severed heads growing in size.
This is the gist, or summary if you may, of the story in which in my opinion, is better in a graphic novel than just reading words. What I’ve learned about meats is how much work is put it in. The cutting, the measurements, the deliver, and the list goes on and on. But it’s all for a great cause, to get the meats from the factories to your nearest supermarket or restaurant. I love how they care for the meat and all, just for them to be killed and eaten by others, it’s just a bit comical. This does makes you think about what you’re eating and how much work was put into it, makes you appreciate the process to have it in your table and the care for it satisfy your needs when eating.
After reading The Way of All Flesh” by Ted Conover I fell bad because I like meat and especially beef and it just so disturbing about how they deal with meat. Also Ted talk about his trials inspecting cattle carcasses talk about how all the animals go though like the killing part that makes cow food. It was just a lot that went though my mind of how these poor animals was getting slaughtered like that I mean I knew that how meat is made by the animal and how they gotta kill it and all of that crazy stuff but I don’t know after reading the article I kinda feel skeptical about eating meat now especially beef because of the way they are slaughtering these animals it just so sad.