As I pulled up to the farm at 7pm the pop song Beautiful Monster, by Ne-Yo, was blaring and I thought to myself how appropriate. I am about to kill an animal for the first time.
I always envisioned the first time would be a chicken but I was not overly bothered by it being a rabbit. Yes, rabbits are cute, but they have no personality unlike goats or pigs which I think I would have a much harder time with.
The rabbits were sitting quietly in two yellow crates as Mark and Brian sharpened their knives. The most humane way to kill a rabbit is to snap its neck which is accomplished by pulling the head with one hand and the legs with the other. This can be a bit tricky so to aid us with the neck snapping Mark has made this killing contraption, set up on a shelf, that is essentially two metal bars that form a V at a roughly 25 degree angle.
I removed the black and white rabbit from the crate by the ears and scruff and wedged his head between the two bars. Then I held the legs and yanked down to snap the neck. The first time I did it I was unsure if I had actually killed it because it kept moving and twitching. I kept asking Mark, is it dead? Are you sure? But that movement was merely the nerves firing for the last time. Then Brian held the rabbit by the legs over a bucket as I cut off the head close to the skull. The blood was bright red, I thought it would be maroon. An incision was made in each front paw and I then hooked the rabbit up so I could skin and gut it.
Using a sharp razor blade I cut just above the joint around each paw, then I made a V from the back paws to the below the anus and cut off the tail. At this point I should have been able to pull the rabbit skin off but I finagled with it a bit, cutting and pulling, cutting and pulling until I finally removed it by giving a good yank down. I cut off the paws, which we keep for luck I guess, in case any rabbits decide to get together and form a rebellion.
Next comes removing the entrails. I cut down the front of the rabbit paying attention not to cut the bladder, intestines, and poop sacs. The organs come spilling out as I cut, I am both fascinated and horrified. There is something about seeing poop trapped in the colon, like Hans Solo in Star Trek, that makes it creepy. Quickly I remove the unwanted bits and then I carefully remove the kidneys and liver. I carve out the bile duct and toss it in the gut bucket. Fish around and remove the lungs and then the heart. We keep the kidneys, liver and heart. Mark generously offered me some to take home, I am not an offal person so I hope that my husband will eat them.
I had the honors of killing the last rabbit and I as removed him from the cage a Boston song came on the radio. I yanked down on the rabbit and herd a crack and let go. The rabbit's legs were bouncing up and down and side to side for a good 30 seconds. It looked like it was dancing to the song. Our laughter at the situation was more of distraction for our mind then a display of our barbarity, an attempt to distance ourselves from an unpleasant situation.
Did I mind the killing, skinning and gutting? To be honest, it didn't really bother me. It's all part of the circle of life, eat or be eaten. Maybe we are beautiful monsters, deep down inside.