Slaughterhouse Blues

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Firefly, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Puerco's time has come (long ago!), he is ~325 lbs now. I have an appt to have him picked up by a nearby slaughterhouse Sunday. Sunshine too unless I change my mind. Sigh.

    There are several slaughterhouses w/in 100 miles but they are all super busy right now; this was the only one that could get to it before mid-October. The problem is, it has not the best reputation. I have seen a film of slaughtering gone bad at a "small Massachusetts slaughterhouse" and wonder if it is this one. They also have the rep of not always giving you your own meat. Humane treatment and getting back the meat I so carefully raised are of course my two main concerns! How do they keep track of ownership when they are butchering on an assembly line? Any suggestions for me on how to ensure this?

    How would I find someone to come to the house to butcher him? I've asked around but no luck so far. Do you know of a good slaughterhouse in MA, VT, NH, CT, RI, southern ME, or eastern NY that could take him soon?
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Firefly, this isn't going to help you at all but if you have severe doubts about the slaughterhouse, don't send your pigs there. Are you able to inspect the premises yourself and see how they do things and how clean it is. Also ask questions such as how do they keep tabs on an individuals meat. I should think it is your right to be able to do this.

    I think I prefer the way we do things here. Although there are abbotoirs that will kill and process home grown meat, most are killed on the farm and the carcase taken away for processing, usually at a local homekill butchery. The animal is marked as being yours when it is taken in and when the butcher starts to break it down, the whole carcase is dealt with in one hit. That isn't to say that there isn't the odd sneaky butcher who doesn't give back the whole carcase or who doesn't do a swap but it doesn't often happen.

    Sounds to me as though there is a huge opening for homekill butchers in the States.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree completely Ronnie. What is it worth to you Firefly to have your own meat back to you? For me it is imperitive. I would drive hours to make sure I dealt with someone I can trust completely. It isn't like you have to make this trip once a month. This sure isn't the fun part of farming or raising your own meat is it? The bad feelings go away quickly when you have your first homegrown meal. Another thing that helps me on a daily basis is that I always try to remember to honour the animal that is being raised for such a noble purpose...to sustain my family. They aren't a pet, but I treat them with more respect and comfort and that helps me a great deal when the day comes to process the meat. Good luck.
     
  4. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the main reasons I went with smaller stock, so could do the butchering myself.
     
  5. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Hi Firefly,

    I agree. Don't go there if you are going to feel uncomfortable about any aspect of it.
     
  6. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

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    up our way the slaughterhouse can't garentee you get the same meat you brought them. They take the hanging weight to determine what you take home from the assembly line processing, this holds especially true for sausage as it is very hard for them to keep everything seperate. The primary reason I do it at home, more fun that way and not as hard as you would think, just need cold weather! :)
     
  7. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Thank you everyone for your advice and support. You really gave me a lot to think about. I have been on the phone all week, first trying to line up someone else. Couldn't find anyone to come to my house, and the best s-house can;t take him till January! (Part of the problem is another s-house burned down this summer, so the shortage has gotten much worse.) Then I made several calls about the reputaion of the s-house where I have the appt. Also teh farmers market pork-seller has been researching too. Long/short, we are both reasonably satisfied and are taking our pigs to the place I mentioned. All fingers and toes crossed! I can't bear to send both of them, but Puerco leaves tomorrow. He is getting lots of special treats today (pignog, fruit, and corn cakes with butter and molasses :rolleyes: ), and I am sure I'll be back looking for a massive :grouphug: after they take him away! :Bawling: That said, though, I am reeeeally looking forward to that first pork shoulder roast!
     
  8. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    I ear notch my pigs to identify them as mine after slaughter, but that only works if you have someone else for the cut/wrap.