The kindest slaughter: a short documentary about one man's bloody job.
“I have known Beatle for a good portion of my life, however he was always a figure on the peripheral. He was employed by my parents to kill animals on our farm for us to eat. I remember when I was about 15, Beatle turned up ready to kill a cattle beast. My father, Beatle and I got into my father's truck and drove to where the herd of cattle were grazing. Beatle explained the reason to take my father's truck and not his was so the animal would not be startled by a vehicle that was a different shape and colour from what it was familiar and comfortable.
My father lifted one hand from the wheel, and pointed out the beast to be killed. Beatle then pulled out his gun, pointed it out the window, and as we were still driving – BAM – he fired. A bullet went straight into the beast's head. The beast fell on the spot, while the rest of the herd just kept chomping away at the grass, unaware that one of their own had died beside them. I will never forget that. The ease, the accuracy and effortless proficiency Beatle displayed was absolute. There was anxiety neither for the killer nor animal. One moment the beast was alive, the next he was dead. At that moment I thought to myself that if you needed to die, this is way you would want to go.
To me, Beatle manifests a distinct quality of the New Zealand way of life. I have always found him a remarkable person with his “I KILL” license plate on his Chevy truck and his outgoing phone message that says unapologetically, “I must be out killing, leave me a message.” Yet he performs his job with a care and aplomb that seems at odds with this persona. This documentary examines his beliefs, how he got into this line of work, why he does it, and his outlook on life. As I was writing notes before we shot this documentary, I was sitting in a bar in New York and I could sense a strong disassociation between this urban megalopolis and the world in which Beatle lives, where he humanely kills and prepares this meat. As I sat there, I asked one man in the sprawling city, what would be the one question you would ask Beatle, and he said “does he like his job?” and that is what we went to find out. “
- David White, Co-Director