It's a dirty job...
Sometimes I just deal with shit all day. Really. I have a separate hamper at home reserved for my pukey, bloody, poop clothes, and the ones that can’t be salvaged go in the third hamper: the trash. I go through hanes undershirts like they are mere paper napkins. Sometimes no amount of bleach and whites cycles can save these shirts. They just still smell like animal fluids.
One day, we were doing a huge yak that wanted to stay in the trailer. When we finally got him to start to move, I was stuck at one side of the trailer and he smeared his huge poopy yak ass across my chest as he swung around to exit. After that day, like the kid that had to wear the dirty old flannel shirt from the nurse’s office, I started bringing changes of clothes.
Sometimes I don’t have a replacement shirt, and I come home shirtless. Not as sexy as you might think, since my wife knows it’s because I was covered in poop earlier.
Alleghany Meats has a 2 1/2 feet deep blood pit in the middle of the kill floor that collects blood, hair, mud, whatever falls off the animal and doesn’t make it into a barrel. It would be something the CIA would dangle a spy over to get them to talk. At the end of the day when I was scooping out the pit with a bucket, I slipped and dropped the bucket onto the ground, it splashed straight up all over me and I fell into the blood pit up to my knees.
Even though on the kill floor I’m wearing a floor-length rubber apron, muck boots, and a button down coat, fluids and solids seem to find their way onto my clothes anyway. During a recent morning, cow spit-up sloshed right into my boot. It was ten in the morning. I had the whole rest of the day to go, with a boot full of puke.
Despite how many cows puke on me, or yaks that smear their poopy butts on me, I love doing my job. When farmers drop their livestock off, they have such pride when their animals step off the trailer. I am in control of how the animals are killed, and I can make sure that I bring the same respect to the slaughter as the farmers did when raising them. Alleghany Meats helps our community’s economy by helping farmers keep their meat here. I like to believe that every day I am helping to create a stronger local food system, and that makes every poop stained work shirt that I go through completely worth it.