“It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Roman Moreno works. For 20 years, his post was ‘second-legger’, a job that entails cutting hocks off carcasses as they whirl past at a rate of 309 an hour.
“The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t.
“‘They blink. They make noises,’ he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’
“Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller. ‘They die,’ said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.'” (p75)