CONTENTS• INTRODUCTION• HISTORY• DESIGN• HYGIENE• SANITATION FACILITIES• ENVIRONMENT HYGIENE• INSPECTION BEFORE SLAUGHTERING• STUNNING TECHNIQUES• PROCESS• RIGOR MORTIS• INTERNATIONAL VARIATIONS• LAW• FISH• MAJOR SLAUGHTERHOUSES• IN VITRO• SLAUGHTERHOUSE WASTE MANAGEMENT• CONCLUSION
Introduction• A slaughterhouse or abattoir is a facility where animals are killed for consumption as food products. Approximately 45-50% of the animal can be turned into edible products (meat).• About 15% is waste, and the remaining 40-45% of the animal is turned into by-products such as leather, soaps, candles (tallow), and adhesives.• In the United States, around nine billion animals are slaughtered every year(this includes about 150.4 million cattle, bison, sheep, hogs, and goats and 8.9 billion chickens, turkeys, and ducks) in 5,700 slaughterhouses and processing plants employing 527,000 workers;
Contd …• in 2009, 26.9 billion pounds of beef were consumed in the U.S. alone. In Canada, 650 million animals are killed annually. In the European Union, the annual figure is 300 million cattle,sheep, and pigs, and four billion chickens.• Slaughterhouses which process meat unfit for human consumption are sometimes referred to as Knackers yards or Knackeries.• Slaughtering animals on a large scale poses significant logistical problems and public health concerns, with public aversion to meat packing in many cultures influencing the location of slaughterhouses.
Contd…..• In addition, some religions stipulate certain conditions for the slaughter of animals so that practices within slaughterhouses vary.• There has been criticism of the methods of preparation, herding, and killing within some slaughterhouses, and in particular of the speed with which the slaughter is sometimes conducted.• Investigations by animal welfare and animal rights groups have indicated that a proportion of these animals are being skinned or gutted while apparently still alive and conscious.• Many of these supposed cases are misinterpretations of post-mortem death twitching as shown by researchers.
Contd….• There has also been criticism of the methods of transport of the animals, who are driven for hundreds of miles to slaughterhouses in conditions that often result in crush injuries and death en route. Slaughtering animals is opposed by animal rights groups on ethical grounds.
History• Slaughterhouses act as the starting point of the meat industry, where stock come from farms/market to enter the food chain. They have existed as long as there have been settlements too large for individuals to rear their own stock for personal consumption.• Early maps of London show numerous stockyards in the periphery of the city, where slaughter occurred in the open air. A term for such open-air slaughterhouse is a shambles. There are streets named "The Shambles" in some English towns (e.g. Worcester, York) which got their name from having been the site on which butchers killed and prepared animals for consumption .
Design• In the latter part of the 20th century, the layout and design of most US slaughterhouses has been significantly influenced by the work of Dr. Temple Grandin. It was her fascination with patterns and flow that first led her to redesign the layout of cattle holding pens.• While Grandins primary objective is to help slaughterhouse operators improve efficiency and profit, she suggested that reducing the stress and suffering of animals being led to slaughter may help achieve this aim.
Contd….• In particular she applied an intuitive understanding of animal psychology to design pens and corrals which funnel a herd of animals arriving at a slaughterhouse into a single file ready for slaughter.• Her corrals employ long sweeping curves so that each animal is prevented from seeing what lies ahead and just concentrates on the hind quarters of the animal in front of it. This design also attempts to override the animals survival instincts and prevent them from reversing direction.
Contd….• Grandin now claims to have designed over 54% of the slaughterhouses in the United States as well as many other slaughterhouses around the world.
Curved cattle corrals designed by Temple Grandin are intended to reduce stress in animals being led to slaughter.
HYGIENE• It is impossible to give an adequate definition of process hygiene because the critical points will vary, depending on:• processing• processing buildings (site, size, buildings)• equipment available• permanent or non-permanent personnel (working routines, training)• climatic conditions• sanitary facilities• water and energy supplies• liquid and solid waste disposal
Contd….• Site of buildings for slaughtering and processing• The slaughterhouse should be situated away from residential areas. Access for animals - either by road, rail and/or stock route - must be assured. The slaughterhouse should be located in areas where flooding is impossible.• An abundant supply of potable water as well as adequate facilities for treatment and disposal is important.• The land acquired for the proposed slaughterhouse should be sufficient to permit future expansion as overcrowding of facilities may give sanitation problems.
Contd….• Where the “slaughterhouse” is more or less an open slaughter place, trees may provide some shade or even be used as a part of the structure. If the slaughterhouse consists of regular buildings the ground should be free of shrubbery or vegetation in close proximity to the structure.
Sanitation facilities• Water points, hoses, sterilizers for hand tools etc. and cleaning equipment must be provided in sufficient numbers. Where possible sterilizers should be supplied with hot water instead of chemical disinfectants.• Sanitary facilities must also include a sufficient number of toilets/latrines and arrangements for hand-washing or even possibilities for bathing (showering). These facilities must be kept clean and well maintained.• To avoid back-flow from toilets in case of flooding the toilet outlets must be separated from common waste water outlets.• Areas/rooms for resting and eating may be required assuring that food for the personnel and the carcasses/meat cannot be mixed.
Environment hygiene• Environmental hygiene and its implementation will depend on the area where the slaughterhouse/meat plant is situated. The precautions to be taken will be different if the site is in a town or in the country.• The main principles of environmental hygiene will consist of:• proper fencing (public, dogs, etc.)• pest control (rodents, insects)• liquid and solid waste disposal
Contd….• Proper fencing: To prevent access of unauthorized persons, the public, dogs and other animals fencing must be erected around the slaughterhouse area.• Pest control:Pests (insect, rodents and birds) should be controlled to prevent their access to slaughterhouses, production areas and storage departments. This is best achieved by the construction of buildings and working places where access of insects, rodents and birds is hindered, but it will be almost impossible to secure buildings totally against pests
Contd….• Insect control :Principles in insect control may be: Biological control through emphasis on the natural enemies of pests. Cultural control through alteration of the environment to make it unfavourable to pests. Sanitation programmes and water management are examples. Physical and mechanical control. Burning and sticky adhesives are examples.
Inspection before slaughtering• Ante Mortem or before slaughter Establishments are required to notify FSIS(food safety and inspection service) inspection program personnel when they want animals inspected prior to slaughter.• Inspection at a slaughter establishment begins in the ante mortem area or pen where FSIS inspection program personnel inspect live animals before moving to slaughter.• It is the establishments responsibility to follow the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Egregious violations to humane handling requirements can lead to suspension of inspection activity within an establishment. This will stop the plant from operating.
Contd….• During this inspection, FSIS inspection program personnel observe all animals at rest and in motion.• Inspection program personnel are trained to look for abnormalities and signs that could indicate disease or health conditions that would prohibit the animal from entering the food supply.• If an animal goes down or shows signs of illness after receiving and passing ante mortem inspection before slaughter, the establishment must immediately notify the FSIS veterinarian to make a case-by-case disposition of the animals condition. Alternatively, the establishment may humanely euthanize the animal.
• The following are stunning techniques used in abattoirs. The Captive Bolt Pistol PithingElectric head-only stunningWaterbath stunningStun to kill techniquesCO2 Gas StunningCardiac arrest stunningSticking
The Captive Bolt Pistol• This stunning method is widely used for all farmed animals. There are two types of captive bolt pistol: penetrative and non-penetrative.• Penetrative: Penetrative stunners drive a bolt into the skull and cause unconsciousness both through physical brain damage and the concussive blow to the skull.• non-penetrative: The bolt on a non-penetrative stunner is mushroom-headed and impacts on the brain without entering the skull. Unconsciousness is caused by the concussive blow.
Contd….• The bolt is described as captive because it flies out of the barrel but remains attached to the pistol. The pistol is placed on the centre of the animals forehead and is either trigger-fired or fires automatically on contact with the animals head.• Percentage of plants using the captive bolt pistols (penetrative and mushroom-headed) according to species and type of plant Cattle (captive bolt/pith): 71.1% Cattle (captive bolt only): 24.9%
Pithing• Pithing is carried out in the majority of cattle slaughterhouses. The practice involves inserting a wire or rod through the hole in the head made by the captive bolt. The rod is slid up and down to destroy the lower part of the brain and the spinal cord.• The Farm Animal Welfare Council say, From purely hygiene considerations, the practice is not favoured. Pithing is due to be banned in the UK during 2001. Studies show that this process may risk BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease) infected brain material entering the animals carcass.
Electric head-only stunning• Electric head-only stunning with tongs is used to stun cattle, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and ostriches. The operator places a pair of electric tongs on either side of the animals head and passes an electric current through the brain - supposedly causing a temporary loss of consciousness• Percentage of plants using electric head-only stunning according to species and type of plant as follows:• Cattle: 0.5%• Sheep & goats: 56%• Pigs: 73.9%
Contd….• The RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) say that, There is increasing scientific evidence that some animals stunned electrically using tongs regain consciousness before they die from loss of blood.• There are two reasons for this: either insufficient electrical current passes through the brain to stun the animal, or the time interval between stunning and sticking exceeds 20 seconds and the animal starts to regain consciousness.
Contd….• The Scientific Veterinary Committee of the EU says that, Under the commercial conditions, a considerable proportion of animals are either inadequately stunned or require a second stun. This is mainly because of poor electrode placements, bad electrical contacts and long stun-to-stick intervals.• The Committee also expresses concern that, The strength of electric current used should be high enough for the species to induce a stun within one second of application. Otherwise, the animals could suffer a potentially painful electric shock before being stunned.
Contd….• The Welfare of Animals at Slaughter Regulations 1995 state that electrodes should not be used to stun animals unless the stunning apparatus incorporates a device which, measures the impedance of a load and prevents operation of the apparatus unless a current can be passed which is sufficient to render an animal of the species being stunned unconscious until it is dead.• In other words, electrical stunning equipment should not be used unless a device is attached which disables the equipment if a strong enough current cannot be achieved. This law is being openly flouted because according to the Meat Hygiene Service, such a device is not currently commercially available.
Waterbath stunning• The electric water bath is widely used to stun chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. Birds are shackled upside down on a moving conveyor which carries them to an electrified water bath into which their heads are supposed to be immersed.• The shackles contact a bar which is connected to earth. The strength of the electrical current has risen in recent years - with the aim of ensuring that birds suffer a cardiac arrest and die when they enter the water bath.• The Meat Hygiene Service report that in 1997/8 the average electric current applied to chickens stunned in an electric water bath was 157 mA.
Stun to kill techniques• Traditionally, animals are stunned before their throats are cut but the stun does not actually kill the animal. Animals die from loss of blood after their throats are cut.• Stunning techniques do not kill animals outright because it has always been assumed that the heart needs to continue functioning so that as much blood as possible can be pumped out of the animal before s/he is eaten.
Contd….• However in their 1984, Report on the Welfare of Livestock (Red Meat Animals) at the Time of Slaughter, the Farm Animal Welfare Council point to scientific research undertaken on pigs at the Meat Research Institute which shows that if animals die from a heart attack before they are knifed and bled out there is no effect on the amount of blood lost, the rate of loss or the residual content of blood in the meat.‘• FAWC(farm animal welfare council) conclude that,
Contd….• the release of blood from the animal need not necessarily occur prior to death... and should a change of attitude come about variations could advantageously be made in the design and operation of stunning techniques.‘• The following table shows that the number of abattoirs using stunning methods which kill the animal outright are very low Sheep and goats - 3.5% Pigs - 1.9% (not including CO2 gas stun/kill) Chickens - 1.1% (gas stunning) Cattle - 0.5%
CO2 Gas Stunning• Four high throughput slaughterhouses stun and then kill pigs by exposing them to a mixture of carbon dioxide and air.• The Meat Hygiene Service say that, The killing of pigs by exposure to CO2 is used in only four slaughterhouses but these premises process 25% of the total number of pigs slaughtered each year.• 16.3 million pigs were killed in the UK in 1998, so over 4 million were stunned using CO2 gas.
Cardiac arrest stunning• Cattle, sheep, pigs, rabbits and goats can be stunned and simultaneously given a cardiac arrest. However, as the table above shows, very few abattoirs actually use these methods.• An electric current is either sent through the head and body at the same time to span the brain and heart or is sent though the head first to cause unconsciousness and then across the chest to cause a cardiac arrest.• If administered correctly, these methods do at least remove the risk of animals regaining consciousness while they are bleeding to death as the heart attack should kill the animal outright.
Contd….• However, the Scientific Veterinary Committee of the EU say that when the second method is used, a considerable proportion of animals are either inadequately stunned or require a second stun.• This is mainly because of poor electrode placements and bad electrical contacts. Measures shall be taken to avoid these practices. Otherwise, when using method 2, the animals could suffer a potentially painful cardiac arrest.
Sticking• Sticking is the term used to describe sticking a knife into an animals throat or chest with the aim of causing blood loss and brain death.• When the neck is severed, the killing is described as a neck stick and when the major vessels near the heart are severed, the killing is described as a thoracic stick.• After being stuck, an animals blood pressure is supposed to fall quickly, resulting in a rapid loss of blood supply to the brain. If the major blood vessels are adequately cut, animals should lose between 40 and 60% of their total blood volume.
Contd….• Researcher Steve Wotton explains that, Poor sticking, leading to inadequate or delayed exsanguination, can allow blood pressure to be maintained so that sensibility is regained before death supervenes.• In order to ensure that animals are not recovering from a stun, slaughter men are supposed to check that animals have an absence of rhythmic breathing movements and an absence of a corneal (eye) reflex.
OVER ALL PROCESS• The slaughterhouse process differs by species and region and may be controlled by civil law as well as religious laws such as Kosher and Halal laws. A typical procedure follows: 1.Cattle (mostly steers and heifers, some cows, and even fewer bulls) are received by truck or rail from a ranch, farm, or feedlot. 2.Cattle are herded into holding pens. 3. Cattle are rendered unconscious by applying an electric shock of 300 volts and 2 amps to the back of the head, effectively stunning the animal, or by use of a captive bolt pistol to the front of the cows head (a pneumatic or cartridge-fired captive bolt). Swine can be rendered unconscious by CO2/inert gas stunning. (This step is prohibited under strict application of Halal and Kashrut codes.)
Contd….4.Animals are hung upside down by both of their hind legs on the processing line.5.The carotid artery and jugular vein are severed with a knife, blood drains, causing death through exsanguination.6.The head is removed, as well as front and rear feet. Prior to hide removal, care is taken to cut around the digestive tract to prevent fecal contamination later in the process.7.The hide/skin is removed by down pullers, side pullers and fisting off the pelt (sheep and goats). Hides can also be removed by laying the carcase on a cradle and skinning with a knife.
Contd….8.The internal organs are removed and inspected for internal parasites and signs of disease. The viscera are separated for inspection from the heart and lungs, referred to as the "pluck." Livers are separated for inspection, tongues are dropped or removed from the head, and the head is sent down the line on the head hooks or head racks for inspection of the lymph nodes for signs of systemic disease.9.The carcase is inspected by a government inspector for safety. (This inspection is performed by the Food Safety Inspection Service in the U.S., and Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Canada.)10.Carcases are subjected to intervention to reduce levels of bacteria. Common interventions are steam, hot water, and organic acids.
Contd….11.Carcases (typically cattle and sheep only) can be electrically stimulated to improve meat tenderness.12.Carcases are chilled to prevent the growth of microorganisms and to reduce meat deterioration while the meat awaits distribution.13.The chilled carcase is broken down into primal cuts and subprimals for boxed meat unless customer specifies for intact sides of meat. Beef and horse carcases are always split in half and then quartered, pork is split into sides only and goat/veal/mutton and lamb is left whole
Contd….14.The remaining carcase may be further processed to extract any residual traces of meat, usually termed advanced meat recovery or mechanically separated meat, which may be used for human or animal consumption.15.Waste materials such as bone, lard or tallow, are sent to a rendering plant. Also, lard and tallow can be used for the production of biodiesel or heating oil.16.The wastewater, consisting of blood and fecal matter, generated by the slaughtering process is sent to a waste water treatment plant.17.The meat is transported to distribution centers that then distribute to retail markets.
Rigor mortis• Rigor mortis (Latin meaning "stiffness of death") is one of the recognizable signs of death that is caused by a chemical change in the muscles after death, causing the limbs of the corpse to become stiff and difficult to move or manipulate. In humans it commences after about 3 hours, reaches maximum stiffness after 12 hours, and gradually dissipates until approximately 72 hours (3 days) after death. Heat sources such as fire or exercise can speed up the process of rigor mortis.
Contd….• Rigor mortis is very important in meat technology. The onset of rigor mortis and its resolution partially determines the tenderness of meat. If the post- slaughter meat is immediately chilled to 15°C (59°F), a phenomenon known as cold shortening occurs, where the muscle shrinks to a third of its original size. This will lead to the loss of water from the meat along with many of the vitamins, minerals, and water soluble proteins. The loss of water makes the meat hard and interferes with the manufacturing of several meat products like cutlet and sausage.
Contd….• Cold shortening is caused by the release of stored calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum of muscle fibres in response to the cold stimulus. The calcium ions trigger powerful muscle contraction aided by ATP molecules. To prevent cold shortening, a process known as electrical stimulation is carried out, especially in beef carcasses, immediately after slaughter and skinning. In this process, the carcass is stimulated with alternating current, causing it to contract and relax, which depletes the ATP reserve from the carcass and prevents cold shortening.
International variations• The standards and regulations governing slaughterhouses vary considerably around the world. In many countries the slaughter of animals is regulated by custom and tradition rather than by law. In the non-Western world, including the Arab world, the Indian sub-continent, etc., both forms of meat are available: one which is produced in modern mechanized slaughterhouses, and the other from local butcher shops.• In some communities animal slaughter may be controlled by religious laws,
Contd….• Most notably halal for Muslims and kashrut for Jewish com munities.• These both require that the animals being slaughtered should be conscious at the point of death, and as such animals cannot be stunned prior to killing.• This can cause conflicts with national regulations when a slaughterhouse adhering to the rules of kosher preparation is located in some Western countries.
Contd….• In Islamic and Jewish law, captive bolts and other methods of pre-slaughter paralysis are generally not permissible, due to it being forbidden for an animal to be killed prior to slaughter.• Various halal food authorities have more recently permitted the use of a recently developed fail- safe system of head-only stunning where the shock is less painful and non-fatal, and where it is possible to reverse the procedure and revive the animal after the shock.
Contd….• In many societies, traditional cultural and religious aversion to slaughter led to prejudice against the people involved. In Japan, where the ban on slaughter of livestock for food was lifted only in the late 19th century, the newly found slaughter industry drew workers primarily from villages of burakumin, who traditionally worked in occupations relating to death• Some countries have laws that exclude specific animal species or grades of animal from being slaughtered for human consumption, especially those that are taboo food.
Contd….• The former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee suggested in 2004 introducing legislation banning the slaughter of cows throughout India, as Hinduism holds cows as sacred and considers their slaughter unthinkable and offensive. This was often opposed on grounds of religious freedom. The slaughter of cows and the importation of beef into the nation of Nepal are strictly forbidden. Several U.S. states have banned the slaughter and consumption of dogs. The sale and consumption of horse meat is illegal in The United States, although horses are slaughtered for meat export to Europe and Japan for human consumption and for the U.S. pet food market.
Law• Most countries have laws in regard to the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses. In the United States, there is the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, a law requiring that all swine, sheep, cattle, and horses be stunned unconscious with just one application of a stunning device by a trained person before being shackled and hoisted up on the line (chickens are exempt from this Act).• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is opposed to the Humane Slaughter Act, and violations of the Act carry no penalties.
Contd….• Since stopping the line to re-knock conscious animals causes "down time" and results in lower profits, the Humane Slaughter Act is usually bypassed and ignored by USDA supervisors• There is some debate over the enforcement of this act. This act, like those in many countries, exempts slaughter in accordance to religious law, such as kosher shechita and dhabiĥa halal. Most strict interpretations of kashrut require that the animal be fully sensible when its carotid artery is cut.
Contd….• The novel The Jungle detailed unsanitary conditions in slaughterhouses and the meatpacking industry during the 1800s. This led directly to an investigation commissioned directly by the President, and to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which established the Food and Drug Administration. A much larger body of regulation deals with the public health and worker safety regulation and inspection.
Fish• Historically, some doubted that fish could experience pain. However, laboratory experiments have shown that fish do react to painful stimuli (e.g. injections of bee venom) in a similar way to mammals.• The expansion of fish farming as well as animal welfare concerns in society has led to research into more humane and faster ways of killing fish.• In large-scale operations like fish farms, stunning fish with electricity or putting them into water saturated with nitrogen so that they cannot breathe, results in death more rapidly than just taking them out of the water.
Contd….• For sport fishing, it is recommended that fish be killed soon after catching them by hitting them on the head followed by bleeding out, or by stabbing the brain with a sharp object (called pithing or ike jime in Japanese).
Major slaughterhouses• The largest slaughterhouse in the world is operated by the Smithfield Packing Company in Tar Heel, North Carolina. It is capable of butchering over 32,000 pigs a day. In the US, the majority of major meat packing plants are located in the Midwestern and High Plains regions.
In vitro meat• "In-Vitro meat is the manufacturing of meat products through tissue-engineering technology. Cultured meat ( in-vitro meat) could have financial, health, environmental, and animal welfare advantages over traditional meat. The idea: To produce animal meat, simply without using an animal. Starting cells are taken painlessly from live animals, they are put into a culture media where they start to proliferate and grow, independently from the animal."
Contd….• A 2009 article in h+ magazine (published by Humanity+) predicts that as a result of the introduction of in vitro meat, the slaughterhouse will eventually become an unneeded institution when animal meat is created from the DNA of the animal instead of its dead carcase. Only sentimental values will keep the butcher stores and slaughter houses open as people switch to in vitro meat.
Conclusion• We still do not understand Stunning; what it does exactly and how it stuns the animal (even in ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy) for the human, we also do not know what it does and how it works). We are still unable to define pain and sensation of the animal (and we will be unlikely to do so) and to understand the loss of consciousness and its relation to pain.• Many scientists opposed to the use of stunning
Contd….• With regard to Pain. I would like to quote from the FAWC(farm animal welfare council) Report (1985), ‘There is a lack of scientific evidence to indicate at what stage in the process of losing consciousness the ability to feel pain ceases.’
References• Grandin, T. "Best Practices for Animal Handling and Stunning", Meat & Poultry, April 2000, pg. 76.• Williams, Erin E. and DeMello, Margo. Why Animals Matter. Prometheus Books, 2007, p. 49.