For the past 60 years, every generation of freshman students at Izumo Agricultural and Forestry High School, in Izumo, Japan’s Shimane prefecture, has taken the “Class of Life”, a controversial six-month course during which the students help hatch and raise chickens, before having to slaughter and eat them.
Last year, the Class of Life at Izumo High School started in October, when they were presented with around 60 chicken eggs. Under the guidance of a teacher, they prepared them for incubation, washing them, arranging them in a special tray and learning to adjust the humidity and temperature on the incubator. For the next three weeks, they were in charge of monitoring the eggs and making sure that the right conditions for hatching were met. Once the chicks hatched, each student had to pick one and raise it as their own, knowing full well that in just a few months they would have to kill and eat it.