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Rail Paul

Organic, artisanal slaughterhouses are in high demand

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Bloomberg has an article today about the screaming need for slaughterhouses. The rise of farm to table restaurant dining often involves a trip to the abattoir. Of which there are very few, fewer specializing in organic processing.


Blue Hill at Stone Barns takes its wattles (pigs) to Warren NJ, where a surgically clean facility does the deed. And returns canisters and bags of parts. Any meat which crosses state lines must be inspected in a USDA certified plant, with few exceptions. The number of these has dropped from over 9,000 to just over 1,000 in 20 years.


The Bloomberg article notes that the rules favor big slaughterhouses. Inspections are occasional, penalties can be modest. The small slaughterhouses complain of uneven regulation, and the statistics seem to support them. The article doesn't mention that harsh spotlight that undercover video shines on the larger houses, or the retribution when "values are broken". One Kosher slaughterhouse company lost much of its business following allegations of mistreatment of workers and animals, for example. In some states, undercover video in processing plants is illegal.


Back in NJ, the Warren plant pays its workers $22 an hour, skilled wage level. The article says that the larger houses pay $13, I'm not sure of the context. In some areas of rural NC, that's considered an OK wage. But, either way it can be awful work.


Advocates of change note that the large slaughterhouses and many public health groups oppose small slaughterhouses, and oppose state regulation. But, the commingling of meat would be much lower in smaller, local plants.





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