Killing animals ain't pretty but if we eat them, we should face the reality of how it happens. Michael Ruhlman did just that, by going inside Schmidt Family Farms to see how the chickens you eat are killed, bled, de-feathered and processed before they hit the market.
Schmidt Family Farms actually specialises in honey but allocates a certain part of the farm to be run by Bradley Cramer, who raises chickens during the summer. The chickens are allowed to roam around the farm for six and a half weeks before they're processed.
And how does the processing work? The chickens are fed into a funnel where they are killed. According to Ruhlman, to kill the chicken "you pinch the craw and windpipe, slide a knife vertically through the neck behind them, turn the knife 90 degrees, and cut the main arteries" and then let them bleed out. The birds are then put into a pot of 60-degree water to loosen the feathers and fed into a defeathering machine which looks like a spinning bucket with rubber teeth inside of it. Then the head, leg and innards are removed and finally, the birds are tossed into a bucket of 40-degree water before they're packaged and shipped out. Again, it's not for the faint of heart but it is how chickens get to your plate. Mmm...still tasty? [Ruhlman via LA Times Food]