Inside the Abattoir: Transparency for Responsible Slaughtering |

Inside the Abattoir: Transparency for Responsible Slaughtering

I've been lucky enough to see firsthand where the meat I purchase comes from; the small slaughter house where I source most of my proteins welcomed us for a visit, inviting us to witness the process without hesitation.

I've also been lucky enough to see large scale meat processing first hand. Back when I was in culinary school around 2001/2002, one of my block mates at NECI had a father who worked as an executive at an enormous meat packing plant (I won't mention where). We were actually allowed in for a tour of the entire premises, though we quickly learned that this was a privilege afforded to very few people. The happenings inside the massive meat factory are kept tightly under wraps.

After seeing both approaches to meat production, it's apparent why one is open for the world to see while the other goes to great lengths to keep people out. Larry Althiser, the owner and head meat cutter for Larry's Custom Meats, agrees that transparency is an important part of responsible meat production. He believes important enough that he let Liza de Guia come in and shoot this enlightening video in his slaughterhouse.
Source: Serious Eatz


wasmith • 04/21/2011
I toured one of the large meat processing facilities (4500 head of cattle daily) last week. Although it may upset some people to hear it, I have to say it was a very clean operation where great care was taken to ensure that animals were treated humanely, food was carefully processed to retain wholesomeness, and workers were paid a decent wage ($13.50 - $20/hr) for the rural Colorado community where the plant is located. During the tour I noticed some of the beef was labeled "Certified Humaine Raised and Handled." This was a particular brand of natural beef, but when I asked I was told that all animals entering their facility are handled at a level that would meet certification standards. Their holding pens were designed by Temple Grandin to minimize stress and the animals are "knocked" essentially at the moment their heads enter the building. My one criticism would be with the USDA. As we are all aware, the major source of food-borne illness outbreaks with beef is ground beef. Rather than requiring that manufacturers reform their practices of mixing beef from scores if not hundreds of sources, they are using technology and required tracking of product from source to end user. While this is financially viable for the large-scale operator it puts the mid-scale and small scale meat processors at a serious disadvantage. If we are not active in support for equal treatment of local producers, hard-working individuals like Larry Althiser may be regulated out of business. And that would be a shame.
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