How does the meat get to our tables? This is generally not a topic we really want to think about yet at times curiosity gets the better of us and we wonder. The whole process happens at a slaughterhouse or abattoir.
How Abattoirs Prepare the Meat for the Market?
This subject can be considered the darker side of the food chain process. Meat is necessary for a healthy diet filled with complete complex proteins found only in animals and not in plant life. We are meat eaters and were created to be such.
Therefore it is important to know where our meat comes from and how healthy it was processed. This is important to know for our own health and personal standards.
So, what does a sheep abattoir do? Here is a simple and matter fact view into the world of a sheep abattoir. It is all done to feed our communities as humanely as possible to the animal and to also provide food to keep our communities fed adequately.
The abattoir is not always a controversial place that social media like to portray. Instead, it is a well organized and clean facility that treat the animals well before processing to feed our people.
So, let’s answer some basic questions about the abattoir for better understanding.
1. How do Abattoirs get the Animals?
Abattoirs get the animals through local farmers at regular intervals. They also buy animals from suppliers throughout the year. Abattoirs can buy animals from auctions. Abattoirs take cattle, pigs, sheep, and poultry.
They type of sheep meat will depend on the age of the animal brought in or purchased. One to two-year sheep is called hogget. The adult sheep two years and older are called mutton.
Some farmers like to do the job themselves without the use of an abattoir and that is fine if they comply with government regulations and handle the meat safely.
2. Does the Abattoir Kill the Animals at the Facility?
Yes, they do. Each type of animals is killed differently according to its body structure and the process that will kill it the quickest and without a great amount of pain.
Veterinary surgeons are kept at each site to ensure the safe practices and humane treatment of the animals. Animals are treated humanely before they are processed.
3. Do they have Regulations for Cleanliness?
Absolutely. Proper hygiene is crucial to a successful operation. Abattoirs have regulations on cleanliness that they must adhere to. An unclean facility or operation can create contaminated meat and a sick community. Cleanliness is imperative. Sheep must be clean when they arrive at the facility.
A dirty sheep right from the fields is not acceptable. Sheep must be without disease and sickness. The sheep must be healthy on all accounts to be acceptable for food production.
The abattoir must be clean as well. Strict and detailed rules and regulations are given to ensure each abattoir is up to code on cleanliness and safety. To see a complete guide to all the regulations your country or city holds each abattoir accountable to, you can visit your local’s website on food production.
4. What are Qualified Graders?
Each abattoir must have a qualified grader to grade the meat for distribution and sale. There are strict national guidelines that the grader must use and obey. The classification of the meat primarily uses the age and fatness of the carcasses. The age is determined by the number of teeth the animal has.
The carcass is then graded with an “A” for the youngest animals, an “AB” for the slightly older animals, “B” ratings are for the older animals, and a “C” rating is given to the oldest animals in the stock.
Each animal’s fatness is classified in numeric values with 0 indicating no fat to a 6 indicating a large amount of fat. For example, an animal rated A1 means it is a young animal with little fat. B1 would be an older animal with a little fat. C5 would indicate an old animal with a lot of fat.
5. Where does the Meat go after the Abattoir Processes it?
After the abattoir slaughters the animal the meat goes off to packaging houses where the meat is cut and packaged to be sold in stores or restaurants.
The whole process from the abattoir through the packaging house is kept sterile to avoid the risk of contamination. The meat is kept fresh.
Non-consumable prats of the animal are sent to industry companies to be used for various purposes. These parts would include the hides, teeth, and offal.
Also, consumable parts that humans technically do not eat will be sent to factories to be made into pet foods and other products such as the tallow for candles.
Abattoirs have gotten a lot of bad publicity form the social media world and vegan activists, but the slaughterhouses do their best to treat the animals with the respect they deserve while providing meat to keep citizens in the local region healthy and nourished.