Last week I discovered that I was going to have to write a vivid scene centering on the sacrifice of a bull.

Now, I’m all for writers writing what they know, but I’m a vegetarian who’s never stepped foot on a real farm. Or a slaughterhouse (although I used to live near one). Meat is something my husband buys in nice, clean, cellophaned packages.


So first I sketched out the scene, realizing that I needed to know more about cow anatomy to make sure I was being accurate. Do cows have carotid arteries that gush like humans? (Also not something I’ve seen in real life, thank goodness.) Do they struggle after their throats are cut? How long does it take them to bleed out? And how in the heck do you restrain a bull before you kill it?

All questions I never knew I needed to answer.

So I went to ask my biology/anatomy teacher-friend. She answered the basics (yes, cows have carotid arteries, in case you’re wondering) and said she’d talk to someone who had worked with cows for a graduate study.

Then I decided to google cow sacrifices to see what I could find. And what did I find?


It was like winning the jackpot in Vegas! Okay, not really, but whatever. Do you have any idea how many cow sacrifice cell phone videos are on YouTube? Take my word for it- a lot. And I watched plenty of them, mostly from Pakistan and Ghana. It definitely gives me an appreciation for the rows of meat at the grocery store. And I’m quite happy that I didn’t have to actually go sacrifice any cows to do my research.

Have you had to do any crazy internet research for your writing? Anything really out there? (I dare you to beat cow sacrifices.)