Looking at words – ‘slaughter’

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

beef-1652978_960_720The word that keeps recurring to me today is ‘slaughter’. It’s a common word; everyone knows it, probably everyone uses it. I look on it as one of these words that we tend to use without examining too closely. It’s a bit like the word ‘suffering’ that I wrote about recently. It’s a word we glance at and we get the gist; a vague impression of something undesirable, unpleasant. And then we move on. Swiftly, thinking words like ‘necessary evil’ and ‘protection laws’. But today, indulge me, let’s have a closer look at what it really means.

Slaughter. What does the dictionary tell us? I looked at several and each has a slightly different definition. Disregarding colloquial use like ‘the football team was slaughtered’, definitions fall into two main categories; humans and nonhumans, and may be summarised as follows:

The killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food;
Killing animals for…

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