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Slaughterhouse curiosities October 1, 2009

Posted by Angelique in Animal welfare.
Tags: , , , , ,

Visiting two slaughterhouses in southern Minnesota over the past couple of weeks has left me with a number of weighty issues to address. However, I thought I’d start off with just a few curiosities.

  1. Body parts continue to move for a very long time after they’ve been separated from their host. At the facilities I visited, what’s called the kill floor was separated into four stations – one where the animal is stunned, bled out, and trimmed of the head and feet; one where it is skinned, eviscerated, and quartered; one where the small organs are dealt with; and one where the quartered carcass is hosed off. It took about a half hour for an animal to move through all those stages. At one point the person cleaning and separating the small organs that could be sold, like the liver, left her station for a moment. I went over to take a closer look at her handiwork and saw a loosely triangular whitish-pink blob on the stainless steel worktable. This was a cow’s tongue. And it was quivering, probably twenty minutes or so after its previous owner had been killed.
  2. The outsides smell a lot worse than the insides. The room attained its olfactory nadir when a particularly dirty cow – one whose coat was covered with mud and dung – entered the stunning chamber. It was a relief to finally get the skin off and thrown into a rubber trash can for disposal. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to smell.
  3. No one wore gloves. Perhaps I expected them to because I’m used to seeing food handlers at various fast food establishments don gloves (and then use them to touch not only my food, but my money, the cash register, and whatever other disease-carriers are within arms’ reach) but these folks dug bare-fisted and elbow-deep into carcasses to drag out the organs.


1. Jaimee - February 11, 2010

My name is Jaimee Pitzl, I go to Benson High School in Omaha NE, and I am doing a project on livestock cruelty for my Civic Design project. I have visited a prossesing plant and a slaughter house. After visiting the slaughterhouse a week or so back, i have not been able to touch meat. All my preconceived notions were right about what it would be like, and I pretty much hated it! But I would still like to learn more, visit a few factory farms, and possibly find another slaughterhouse that will let me take pictures of the actual killing.

The reason that I am leaving a comment is because I need to find more people, preferably around my area, that know all about this subject. Professionals, workers, executives of the business, anything would help, really.

My teacher found this web site. I read a couple of your blogs and am hoping you know a bit more about it than I, and would be willing to share your knowlege on it. If you know some people that would be willing to talk, anything! I am stuck!

Thank you!

Angelique - February 11, 2010

Hi Jaimee,

Kudos to you on doing this firsthand research! It’s always best to see things for yourself and make your own decisions.

Unfortunately I don’t know of anyone in NE. It is very hard to get into factory farms and slaughterhouses; most of them don’t want the public to see what they’re doing. Your best bet is, if you know friends whose parents or other relatives are in the business, to ask if they would be willing to let you in. People are much more willing to open up to someone whom they know. Also, smaller, family-owned facilities are much more likely to let you in than large corporate ones. If you haven’t already, ask the one slaughterhouse you have been to for others they think might be willing, or for any of their customers that might.

Good luck!

2. Jaimee - February 12, 2010

Thank you for trying, and actually replying! 🙂

I actually found a farm today! The Omaha Home for Boys farm, they take care of them until they are shipped to the slaughter houses..

Thanks for the good luck, too. I will be needing it!

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