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Stunned is the word that springs to mind as I contemplate the slaughter chute with its snake-like reticulation and its ox-blood paint. If it works, if all goes well—as well as things can go when a living being is lured toward a violent death—then the cow will end up stunned, courtesy of a pneumatic device pressed against her forehead. Not knocked unconscious but stunned, fully sensate but disoriented, her brain scrambling to make sense of things, before she is hoisted up by a chain. It's a stunning sight: Every pound of her immense weight hanging by one ankle, as she dangles and twirls like a leaf snagged on a fencepost. It's also stunning to realize that, in the U.S. alone, some 33 million cows—about 10 times the number of visitors who file through The Museum of Modern Art each year—will experience this space firsthand, or a similar but less welcoming version of it. MORE

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