Lambs To The Slaughter

Lambs to the Slaughter

April 7, 2017

Allan Stevo

Throughout northern Slovakia, and for all I know all over Europe, Italian salesmen are visiting sheep herders right now and assessing their flocks.  The salesmen are picking out those lambs that are neither too big nor too small, pinching at their sides to feel for a good layer of fat, looking them over for health issues.  The lambs will be marked, and the salesman and shepherd will schedule a day for a livestock truck to come take the select lambs of the flock.

The livestock truck comes to pick up lambs each year about a week before Easter.  From northern Slovakia it’s  600 miles, 1000 kilometers, and 10 hours to Venice, 900 miles, 1,500 kilometers, and 14 hours to Rome, and 1,200 miles, 2,000 kilometers, and 22 hours to Sicily (not including the crossing of the Strait of Messina).  Coming a week before Easter to load up the Slovak lambs will give them enough time to get the lambs to market in Italy where they will be served as part of the paschal meal.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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  • Elena Sopoci

    Apr 17th, 2017

    Enjoyed learning more about the seasonal changes that the sheep and the baca move through. But I am so sad thinking about the long trip the poor lambs must endure to reach the place of their slaughter — no doubt they will be terrified, hungry and thirsty as they are packed into trucks and – I have no doubt – moved as cheaply and expediently as possible. This is hardly a “charming” thought – exporting animals for slaughter is a horribly cruel business and it doesn’t have to be this way. Why can’t the Italians raise their own sheep?

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