WHAT IS A SHEEP ABATTOIR?

A sheep abattoir is a slaughterhouse that processes the animals into lamb, sheep, mutton, and hogget meat pieces. Abattoir’s only process meat for human consumption.

Strict regulations are enforced to ensure that the meat is processed as humanely as possible and to keep a tight rein on health concerns so the meat remains as contaminate free as possible. There have been changes in reform over the past century to guarantee fresh and healthy meat for community consumption.

Rules and Regulations for the Abattoir in South Africa, are set by the Department of Agricultural Technical Services. There are innumerable guidelines that must be adhered to in order to meet governmental standards. These regulations are to prevent contamination and disease. Extremely rigid laws must be followed.


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Before the premises is even built, the design and drawings must be submitted to the provincial executive officer for approval. All aspects of the design are evaluated. There is a list of strict guidelines that must be met. For instance, the premises itself must be enclosed with a controlled entrance and exit point not allowing unauthorised personnel or vehicles.

There must be fences in place. The grounds around the premises must be paved with asphalt or concrete. Proper ventilation must be provided by any type of ventilation windows, air- conditioning, skylights, fan and duct system, or other methods that provide great ventilation to prevent the spread of disease.

In processing rooms, windows must be metal framed and angled at a proper angle to discourage the collection of dust and dirt. Their surfaces must be smooth so they can be easily cleaned. Natural or artificial lighting must be of an adequate strength. The inside temperatures must be kept at a certain degree.

The interior walls must be made of smooth, light-colored material and cleaned on a regular basis. There must be separate facilities for each of the processing areas. These are just a few of the hundreds of guidelines that are required to be met on a daily basis.


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Along with premises requirements, there are also cleanliness laws, processing laws, and packaging laws, all with one purpose in mind-to prevent disease and contamination from getting to the meat being processed. Everything down to the most minute detail is regulated and watched. Laws are set throughout the entire process of getting the meat prepared and ready to market.

The laws are stringent to prevent disease and illness in our community. Despite the strict regulations, there are many videos on the internet that show the horrors of the abattoir. This must be addressed here as they show slaughterhouses in a bad light (and some of them rightly so) but on the whole, abattoirs must adhere to regulations and perform the complete process as clean and humanely done as possible.

There are limits to slaughter per day. For sheep that limit is 40 units. No more may be processed in a single day. It is up to the executive officer to determine if this limit should be lowered in the case of animal quantity.


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Our bodies need animal based protein to stay healthy. It is the way we were built and wired. To provide meat for an entire community, abattoirs need to fulfil the need as smoothly, quickly and cleanly as possible. To ensure that the meat remains disease free from the time of processing to cooking in your kitchen, the governmental laws are in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. Meat inspections are made routinely to ensure the meat coming from the abattoirs meets safety guidelines.

Sheep is a leading meat industry worldwide. Because of its many health benefits, sheep and mutton meat have become a modern staple in many households that used to eat larger quantities of beef and pork. Sheep meat is filled with vitamins and minerals.

It is also filled with healthy fats needed to keep people healthy yet not clog our arteries. Many sheep farms allow their sheep to roam, grazing on natural diets that make for leaner and healthier meat in the market. The meat gets there by way of healthy and humane abattoirs that are held to high standards in processing and cleanliness.

If you feel that a local abattoir is not adhering to government policies as set up by your government, please notify authorities right away. The animals and your health of your community may depend upon it.