When I buy sides of pork and beef from local farmers, it is quite plainly illegal for them to be killed in an un-inspected environment. Consequently, farmers bring their meat animals to one of the local meat processors/abattoirs and for a very reasonable fee, the processor does what’s called a ‘kill & chill’. Under supervision of a provincial meat inspector, they do the kill, gutting, skinning [or scraping for pigs], and chilling of the carcass. It’s important work, and I’m guessing it’s work that most retail customers are oblivious to, for a variety of reasons. You don’t want to know. Industry doesn’t want you do know. I think we should know.
In the poultry industry, kill plants have been shut down by increasing regulation over the years such that producers must now drive their poultry to the plant in St. Paul to have their birds processed – even if it takes hours and hours to drive there. The result is highly-stressed birds and significant loss of life in transit. Ask your local poultry producer about it. For whatever reason our local red meat processors have [thankfully] not met that same fate. We need to keep it that way. We need to better understand their role in our local food supply chain. We need to support these people that do our dirty work for us – and make no mistake, it’s the consumer that demands the dirty work be done.
Another theme I wanted to address is the amount of food that goes in the bin at the processor – by request of the consumer. Stock bones, oxtail, heart, liver, tongue, kidney, caul fat, tripe, pig heads, and loads more go in the bin because we don’t want it. It’s wasteful, disrespectful, and I think we’re due for a culture change in this regard.
This episode is graphic and not for everyone, so don’t watch it unless you want to see how a cow gets killed and processed. It’s a far too uncommon look at a critical part of the process of delivering meat to the table. I will be moderating the comments liberally.