"Every Twelve Seconds" by Timothy Pachirat

Every Twelve Seconds Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight Timothy Pachirat

Series:
Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
29 Mar 2013
ISBN:
9780300192483
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
320 pages: 210 x 140mm
Illustrations:
10 b-w illus.

This is an account of industrialized killing from a participant’s point of view. The author, political scientist Timothy Pachirat, was employed undercover for five months in a Great Plains slaughterhouse where 2,500 cattle were killed per day—one every twelve seconds. Working in the cooler as a liver hanger, in the chutes as a cattle driver, and on the kill floor as a food-safety quality-control worker, Pachirat experienced firsthand the realities of the work of killing in modern society. He uses those experiences to explore not only the slaughter industry but also how, as a society, we facilitate violent labor and hide away that which is too repugnant to contemplate.

Through his vivid narrative and ethnographic approach, Pachirat brings to life massive, routine killing from the perspective of those who take part in it. He shows how surveillance and sequestration operate within the slaughterhouse and in its interactions with the community at large. He also considers how society is organized to distance and hide uncomfortable realities from view. With much to say about issues ranging from the sociology of violence and modern food production to animal rights and welfare, Every Twelve Seconds is an important and disturbing work.

"Pachirat’s extraordinary narrative tells us about much more than abused animals and degraded workers. It opens our eyes to the kind of society in which we live."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

"You may not want to know what happens behind the walls of a modern slaughterhouse; but Pachirat’s extraordinary narrative tells us about much more than abused animals and degraded workers. It opens our eyes to the kind of society in which we live."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

"A truly stunning achievement.  Every Twelve Seconds takes us into the slaughterhouse and asks: Why do we work so hard to conceal the daily routine of industrialized killing?  The result is a masterpiece that is as sophisticated as it is hard to put down."—Steve Striffler, author of Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America's Favorite Food

"By far the most thorough and immersive accounting of slaughterhouse operations in contemporary agribusiness."—Erik Marcus, author of Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, & Money

"Pachirat’s prose and tone are readable, horrific, and compelling.  The documentary spell it casts recalls the steady, unflinching eye of Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier. Astonishing."—John Bowe, author of Nobodies: Slave Labor in Modern America and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy


"Pachirat’s extraordinary narrative tells us about much more than abused animals and degraded workers. It opens our eyes to the kind of society in which we live."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

"A lucid writer, Pachirat excels in explaining how a slaughterhouse works."—Ted Conover, The Nation

"The book is superbly written, especially given the grimness of the subject."—Mark Bittman, The New York Times, Opinionator column

"A fascinating, gut-wrenching study—but absolutely not for the weak of stomach."—Kirkus Reviews