The Last Kill


When we read in the Illiad how the Greek leaders sacrificed a fatted five year ox ".......they drew back the victims head, slit its throat and flayed it....." we are at an opening chapter of recorded European history. And in this ritual in which the forces of life and death are inextricably entwined, the slaughterer plays an intimate and central role in our cultural history. But it is a role that rapid urbanisation has all but eradicated as we become ever more removed and alienated from the source of our food, and we buy our meat in polythene packs from the supermarket. Except small holders living in the country have held on to the old traditions, maintaining the natural right to rear and kill their animals for the table. But food scares, increased bureaucratisation and unending regulative legislation have steadily eroded this right until now in Europe home slaughter of most livestock is illegal. The Last Kill, illuminated by music from another era, follows the last working days of an old Scottish itinerant slaughterer Davey Kelly, and records the end of an age of innocence. Davy Kelly wants to pass on his knowledge and skills. A new generation of small farmers wants to learn how to slaughter humanely in order to be able to run their farms ethically and economically. But at this point the practical application of his knowledge is becoming illegal.












The Last Kill