Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Taking responsibility

One of the reasons we raise our own animals for meat is so that we know they have been well cared for in their short lives, that they are fed good food and are only given medication if it is absolutely necessary. We also thought we were extremely lucky that the slaughterhouse closest to us was a small family run business with a good reputation and one of the few in the country that was licenced for the slaughter of organic animals.

It appears all is not as it seems. I had heard talk amongst the local farming community, before Christmas, that the slaughterhouse was under investigation after it had been secretly filmed and that an ever expanding local organic enterprise had withdrawn its custom. Since Christmas I had heard nothing more until yesterday when a double page spread on the incident appeared in a National newspaper.
The slaughterhouse hasn't been closed, although it has lost its organic licence, they are being inspected on a more regular basis and three members of staff have lost their jobs.
My concern is what should we do. It is the only abattoir for many miles. I have absolutely no reason to doubt their professionalism from what I've seen personally. They have always been very gentle and quiet when unloading any of my livestock and the pens have always been clean with plenty of fresh straw. Admittedly we always take our animals first thing, the timing suits us and it also means the animals are dealt with almost immediately, so reducing any stress.
Now that it has been investigated do I assume that any lapse in animal care has been dealt with and due to being under greater inspection is less likely to reoccur or do I try to find another slaughterhouse whose reputation I know nothing about?
Thankfully, other than the possibility of Fred 'making the mark' in the next few months I have until October/November to make a decision - the time when any lambs born to Annie and Freda will be ready.


Madchickenlady said...

Oh, what a tough decision. I would mention the publicity to your contact at the slaughterhouse, and see what they have to say for themselves. There's no easy solution though, is there :/.

Anonymous said...

I personally think, the best time to use an establishment is after an upset such as this.. (not before!), as of course, they will be trying all the more to get things right.. certain staff have left, inspections are more frequent - it is bound to be a better place for it. and the alternative.. a much longer journey for the animals.

and that particular newspaper - i dont have a high opinion of.. some of their report is quite amusin.. such as how animals are chased out of their transport with sticks. well.. thats most farmers then.. and its the animal owners that do the unloading..

Sandra said...

I must admit when I read the article they were several comments where thought "yes but... or.. and??" Also as I said from my own experience I have had no problems. I just wondered if I was justifying to myself that it was all fine, not wanting to think otherwise. I totally agree that now they are being more closely watched it is probably the best run abattoir around.

Poppy said...

I agree with CIG and you have to go on what your own gut says.

Our local slaughthouse has a good reputation but we use the next closest to us as we like the way they treat the animals better. The one that we use is often in the local press as they have money problems for the last few years, bad things are said about them but we know that we are respected for being able to unload pigs on dog leads where as at the other we are laughed at, but they have the good reputation.