JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Siegried Giedion wrote a terrific book called Mechanization Takes Command (and beautifully subtitled ...a contribution to anonymous history) in which he (sweepingly) looks at how mechanization took over from hand production in the life of social and technical world.
The book was published by Oxford University Press in 1948, and given that year, Giedion has something very interesting to say about killing.
After investigating "The Mechanization of Death: Meat" and how over hundreds of years the hammer-to-the-head and skinning that transforms an "animal" into ":meat" turned from human to mechanical hands, he decided that "what is truly startling in this mass transition from life to death is the complete neutrality of the act". The animal=meat act and the mechanization of killing removes the "human" element of the act, and that "one does not experience, one does not feel; one merely observes" a killing that is not somehow dying. He reckons that this experience may in general have made us more capable of desperate act of killing that do no longer seem so desperate.
It is a remarkable and early insight into the meat industry from an uncommon and unexpected source.