The 28-foot-long trailer unit, powered by a diesel generator, will visit individual farms and ranches to slaughter cows, pigs, goats, buffalo and sheep. Accompanying the vehicle will be two butchers and an inspector with U.S. Department of Agriculture to oversee the slaughtering and cutting processes.
The unit will allow livestock producers to process meat products cost-effectively and to distribute them locally to hospitals, schools, supermarkets and individuals. After slaughter, stock will be halved and quartered in the unit.
The meats will then be transported to USDA-certified Paso Meat & Sausage Company for further processing and wrapping. The company recently built facilities specially designed to accommodate meat products from the mobile slaughter unit.
Before the arrival of the mobile slaughter house, many animals would be transported over long distances to meat processing facilities at centralized locations for slaughter, cutting and wrapping.
“It’s beyond humane,” said Elizabeth Poett, CAAC president and Santa Barbara County rancher. “There is no stress for the animal because it never leaves the ranch.”
Stressed livestock can produce adrenaline which can reduce meat quality and taste.
Throughput is expected to be 50 to 80 animals a month.
The purpose-designed slaughter unit was financed by a $137,000 grant from the Agricultural Land Trust in Monterey County, California.
Steve Greco, one of the unit’s butchers said: “It functions the same as any livestock slaughter facility, except it is much more condensed and put on wheels.”
In a written statement, a spokesperson for the co-operative commented: “Supporting local foods have become more relevant than ever. Many states are incorporating their own Local Food Bills while consumers are recognizing the need for county-funded Buy Fresh, Buy Local programs. Understanding the importance of locally grown foods has transpired into a larger community concern. A program such as CCAC’s directly addresses those concerns.”