Sunday, September 6, 2009

Meeting the Meat: Tiv Factory Tour

On Wednesday September 9 I finally came face to face with my supposed nemesis on kibbutz, the Tiv meat-packing plant. Established by the same German pioneers who founded Tirat Zvi in 1937, the meat plant is today the largest such factory in Israel. Because I usually criticize the meat industry when asked to explain why I am a vegetarian, most people had laughed and cringed when I told them Tirat Zvi would be my home for the next year. Enjoy the sausages, folks laughed, imagining me spending long afternoons working on a hot dog assembly line.

The reality is that no one in my garin will be working in the meat plant anytime soon. On September 9 we did, however, stand by the hot dog assembly line, part of a two hour tour of the facility. Tiv is not a slaughterhouse, only a packing plant, so the closest we got to the raw product was a vat of pink, toothpaste meat sauce. The smell from the vat was powerful. But the best part was watching them pour the pink goo into a machine that converted the meat into six inch tubes that were then sliced into supermarket salami.

I have been meaning to write a concise statement explaining my reasons for refraining from eating meat and fish. Perhaps this will be the space to do so. So check back later, when time and patience lead me to post said explanation in this column.

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