Wednesday, 13 January 2010
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was under investigation after it had been secretly filmed and that an ever expanding local organic enterprise had withdrawn its custom.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.