The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of the greatest unsolved crime mysteries in history. Jack was notorious both for the brutality of his murders and also for his habit of stealing organs from his victims. His speed and skill in doing so, in conditions of poor light and haste, fueled theories he was a surgeon.
However, re-examination of a mortuary sketch from one of his victims has revealed several key aspects that strongly suggest he had no professional surgical training. Instead, the technique used was more consistent with that of a slaughterhouse worker.
There were many small-scale slaughterhouses in East London in the 1880s, within which conditions were harsh for animals and workers alike. The brutalizing effects of such work only add to concerns highlighted by modern research that those who commit violence on animals are more likely to target people.
Modern slaughterhouses are more humane in some ways but more desensitizing in others, and sociological research has indicated that communities with slaughterhouses are more likely to experience the most violent of crimes. The implications for modern animal slaughtering, and our social reliance on slaughterhouses, are explored.
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