One problematic factor for small meat operations is a lack of certified processing facilities. I’ve heard many people complain that it’s hard to find a place willing to handle small quantities of animals and that does a good enough job for the fresh, local market business. The industrialization of food means that slaughter is increasingly concentrated in the larger factory operations that generate the very sorts of inhumane and unclean settings that result in protests and food scares. It’s certainly a factor for us; I’d like to move into more goat and hog on a small scale, to complement our vegetables, generate fertilizer, and make better and more sustianable use of our land. But we’re not allowed to do the slaughter ourselves and there aren’t too many choices for butchering that a small farm can use, and it’s another barrier to independant enterpreneurs like ourselves who want to grow our business.
So it was exciting and refreshing to read this story from the Wall Street Journal about the nation’s first mobile slaughterhouse, a USDA-certified trailer operation that travels to individual farms to butcher on-site. This approach maximizes humane slaughter, as the animals do not travel and are never confined, while also maximizing efficiency, quality, and utility for the small farm which may not be able to haul animals to a slaughterhouse easily. The animal and the meat stay on-farm, which is ideal for food safety and quality.