Livestock

At the abattoir

Knowing what to expect at the abattoir will reduce your anxiety, and in turn the stress of the pigs you're taking to slaughter.

Take with you a bucket of feed, the movement licence and Food Chain Information declaration, mobile phone and the abattoir's contact details.

Know what's going to happen to the carcasses after slaughter, and make sure the abattoir knows too. Most abattoirs will deliver carcasses to local butchers and include this delivery in their charges.

You should find the staff at the abattoir helpful and friendly. A vet employed by the Meat Hygiene Service will be in attendance to make sure your animals are properly cared for, to check all paperwork and to inspect carcases after slaughter to determine that they are fit for human consumption.

At most abattoirs you will be required to reverse your trailer up to a loading door or gate, so the pigs can be transferred to a holding pen. If your pigs are reluctant to unload use the bucket of feed to encourage them out - this is where training pigs to follow a bucket pays dividends and makes the whole abattoir experience less stressful.

Once your pigs are out of the trailer and into the abattoir it's usually only a short time before they are killed.

Biosecurity

When you get back home, clean out and disinfect the trailer – by law, this must be done within 24 hours so you might as well get it over with. Some abattoirs will have facilities on-site for disinfecting trailers; if your's does it makes sense to take advantage of these before leaving.

Disinfecting trailerSome abattoirs have facilities for disinfecting trailers

Remember, if we don’t eat these rare breed pigs, the breeds will die out – we’ve lost many pig breeds in the UK already. You have given these animals the best life – be proud of that and enjoy the fruits of your labours.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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