And today’s lesson is… -

And today’s lesson is…

What started as demonstration of where meat comes from ended with outraged parents and upset kids


In the town of Ratekau, what started as a fifth-grade demonstration of where meat comes from—and how it was prepared in the days before refrigeration—ended with outraged parents, upset kids, and a denouncement from state officials. As part of a curriculum unit on how people lived in the Stone Age, one parent (a farmer) volunteered to slaughter a rabbit for the class. Teachers voted in favour, but apparently didn’t inform parents or the principal. Some fifth-graders launched a petition to save the rabbit, but teachers seem to have ignored them. “One can’t collect signatures against a math test either,” one told the newspaper Lübecker Nachrichten.

In the end, 50 students voluntarily gathered in the school courtyard. They said goodbye to the rabbit; the farmer then hit it with a hammer, slit its throat, gutted and skinned it, and hung it to drain. It was later grilled and consumed. Parents complained, leading the state’s Education Ministry to denounce the slaughter as “educationally problematic.” “My point wasn’t to show children death,” the farmer told Der Spiegel. “We wanted to demonstrate that killing animals involves taking on responsibility.”

Photo: Getty Images


And today’s lesson is…

  1. This post makes me chuckle slightly as I remember way back to the mid-90s when my Sociology 100 class at university watched Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me” movie together one afternoon. The movie explores the degeneration of Detroit’s society in the wake of the slowing economy and shutdown of many key automakers. After showing live footage of a street shooting and a person being shot in a crosswalk, it later shows how a woman augments her house income by growing rabbits, killing and skinning them to sell their meat. My class of 18-20 year olds didn’t bat an eye watching real footage of shooting a real human, but the gasps and outbursts that were present when the woman skinned the rabbit caught me off guard and resonated deep within me for the past 15 years. This post again reveals a glimpse into humanity’s resistance to face reality of where meat truly comes from (and has since the beginning of human existence.) Being a grade 4/5 teacher myself, I personally don’t think I’d be as brave to show the true source of meat up close and personal, but I do grate at the idea that our society is desensitized in many ways to human violence at the cost of the daily truths that stay hidden mainly behind the butcher’s door.

  2. It is indeed laughable that most people don’t even care about seeing stuff with violence against other humans but balk at the idea of knowning how they get their food. That prettily packaged piece of prime cut that we drool over in the supermarket had to come from some slaughtered animal somewhere. What selective ignorance we practice these days…surely our ancestors are rolling in their graves.

  3. The rabbit was probably lucky it got taken care of ‘personally.’ Butchering meat for mass consumption is not always efficient and humane at the same time to either side of the knife.