Somebody once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian. Slaughterhouse: The Task of Blood is that glass wall, filmed in a small, family-run abattoir in Oldham, Greater Manchester that is struggling to survive.
The process of meat production is shown in graphic detail – the animals arrive healthy and whole and are then killed, skinned, eviscerated and butchered, but the film is not just about an industrial process, it is also about the men with the sharp knives, the killers and cutters. It’s a film about white, working class men. The abattoir and the men who work there have to be seen in the context of the town in which they are located – Oldham was once a cotton town but nothing much gets produced there any more. The town has a large immigrant population, mainly Muslims from India and Pakistan, and Oldham has been the scene of racial disturbances in recent years. The film explores the sometimes shocking attitudes of the abattoir workers towards various subjects, including race and immigration.
The facilities of the abattoir are used by both Jewish and Muslim slaughtermen for kosher and halal killing – their attitudes to work and the world outside contrast with those of the other abattoir workers.
Slaughterhouse is a look inside a world that most of us know nothing about – you might never look at a pork chop in the same way again.