Slaughterhouse software from Farmsoft manages livestock inventory for beef, bison, sheep: Full slaughterhouse management solution from livestock delivery to customer collection of processed animal products.


99% less meat packing waste

Accurate meat inventory management reduces waste through better FIFO stock rotation, stock-takes, and inventory alerts. RFID pallet control (optional) for precision inventory tracking. 

Save time packing meat 

Increase the efficiency of your meat packing plant using options like scanning incoming bar-codes to reduce data entry & errors, integrate with scales for automatic weighing, ore RFID for automatic livestock and cut meat inventory tracking.

Better meat quality control

Guarantee the quality of your meat with flexible QC testing systems from your cell or tablet. Customer feedback management, supplier livestock quality control and more...

Reduce meat  packing errors & control production

Project required inventory (and shortages), schedule orders to be cut & packed in batches & lots , automatic alerts to production line managers, schedule slaughter, cutting & meat packing services for customers.

100% accurate meat  order shipping

Shipping teams are guided through the dispatch process from picking using a phone or tablet (optional bar-code scanning), automatic picking, thru bill of lading, invoice, and automatic shipping notifications for customers, transport, and sales teams.

Reduce meat  packing administration costs by 40%

Automatic generation of fresh meat labels (outer box, inner packs, and meat pallet labels), bill of lading, invoice, picking documents and more; reduces administrative burden.

Easy audit & mock recall systems reduces compliance costs.

Faster meat inventory storage  & management

Accurate meat inventory management delivers reduced meat waste and increased employee productivity. Manage FIFO, improve stock-take accuracy, and keep a watchful eye on ageing your inventory... Easy stock-take identifies shrinkage and helps reduce. 

100% accurate meat traceability

Maintain strict meat traceability and high food safety standards at all times. Perform recalls based on animal tag, RFID, animal number, lot/batch, cut date, ageing date / cooler location, pack date, invoice #, inventory #, pallet #, delivery date, purchase order #, or perform a recall on your own user defined data. Perform instant recalls both up and down the supply chain. Makes audits easy and instant. 

Reduce meat  waste by 99%

Inventory control ensures there is no 'shrinkage', meat inventory is FIFO managed, and expiring inventory always monitored.

Reduce administration time by 60%

Automatic paperwork, labels, and reporting reduces the burden on administration teams and saves everyone's time.

Better meat quality now

Quality control and food safety has never been easier with industry standard quality tests, food safety checklists; or configure your own tests.  Test animal carcass, ageing sides, cut fillets, and packed meat products.

100% accurate meat ageing

Guarantee all meat is aged to correct age, no over / under ageing, reduce waste and ensures accurate ageing of meat.

Customers order animal processing online

Customers use the portal to request their livestock slaughtered, processed, and packed, including the cutting specifications & packaging & labeling requirements.

Management approves processing requests

Management is immediately alerted when a customer requests animal processing, and can change the delivery date or time for the livestock delivery.  An email confirmation is sent to the customer immediately with any updated info.

Self serve customer management make administration & planning easy

Customers are automatically sent alerts at each important processing phase including: livestock delivery, completion of slaughter, completion of cutting & packing.  Your customers can view the progress of slaughter, packing, and pickup of their finished goods, even print invoices and view old orders. 

100% accurate & automatic invoicing

Immediately when your customers goods are finished processing, they are sent harvest details, yield, itemized details of the packed goods, and an invoice for the slaughter, cutting, packing (and misc service like lab tests etc).  

Complete business management app for slaughter, meat cutting, meat packing and animal processing businesses with industry specific reporting and tools.    Farmsoft comes with full project implementation management, training, and support solutions to deliver a fully tailored meat processing & meat packing solution that matches your exact meat traceability requirements and delivers maximum efficiency, reduces waste, and provides automatic traceability.

Livestock inventory

Manage incoming livestock in unlimited pens; all animals issued tracking number, print / email livestock delivery receipt. Manage packaging (crates, cartons, labels, bags), receive alerts when inventory needs re-ordering.   Inventory audit trail and tracking.  Unlimited inventory items. Bar-code inventory management for meat packing.

Stock-take

Perform stock-takes any time by category or storage location.  Know how much inventory (livestock, sides, finished product, and packaging materials) you have in real time, even search by storage location.  Report by product line and storage location or rail, or product category.  Manage the meat ageing process and ensure correct aged meat is provided for each customer.  

Animal processing

Use inexpensive tablet terminals so each team member can see where they are in the processing stage and rapidly record data for their tasks regardless of position in processing chain (weigh box, knock box, head removal, evisceration, inspection, further processing, retain rail, scale, packaging, shipping and export).

Sales, shipping,  orders

Print pick sheet to pick meat orders manually, or scan inventory / pallets onto orders, or auto select inventory,  or rapidly sell without an order.  Track paid, and unpaid invoices.  Attach documents to invoices / photos of outgoing shipments.  Rapid collection of customers processed orders.

Traceability & recalls

Instant mock recalls both up and down the supply chain tracks to livestock supplier, property, and establishment.  Recall using any key such as livestock supplier lot/batch, livestock supplier name, delivery date, invoice #, inventory # or animal number, RFID, pallet #, customer reference, order # and more..

Invoices, BOL, labels for pallets & inventory

Choose from a selection of export documentation, invoices, bill of lading, freight notes, and industry standard meat labels (HALAL, INSPECTED, EU) in all languages.   Our team will add new labels, export docs, and invoices if you have special requirements. 

Cutting station management

The production manager can use the Cutting Spec screen to rapidly set the cutting specification for each station / employee, each station can have an inexpensive tablet that displays their spec, and they can use voice control to skip to the next animal to ensure maximum meat processing efficiency and hygiene. 

Logistics

View open meat orders & balances. Assign orders to specific staff for picking, assign to trucks / driver, transport company.  Set loading order for multiple orders on one truck.  See when orders are ready shipped and print bill of lading, export documents, and invoices. 

Quality control

Perform QC tests on incoming livestock, carcass sides, packed meat, on shipments pre-shipping / sealing of export containers. Configure QC tests for ANYTHING you want to test, including livestock supplier quality control tracking.  Attach unlimited photos & documents to QC tests from your cell or tablet.  

Complete customer management

Customers can book animal processing online, specify animal details and preferred cutting spec, delivery date and notes for each cut and packing type.  Management reviews and approves or changes orders and farmsoft will send notification to the customer on approval of order, on delivery, on slaughter (harvest details), completion of cutting & packing with details of pack and yield, and automatic invoice for livestock processing services. 

Low cost hardware & on-going costs

Use inexpensive generic hardware with farmsoft (save $300,000 implementation costs) and continue saving every year with lower I.T. maintenance costs (see brochure

Finance apps

Integrate with Xero online, or with SAGE, MYOB, Quickbooks, etc: export invoices (AR) and Purchase Orders (AP) to your chosen finance app. If we don't support yours, let us know and we will add support.   

Slaughterhouse software from Farmsoft manages livestock inventory for beef, bison, sheep: Full slaughterhouse management solution from livestock delivery to customer collection of processed animal products.

Meat packing app delivers production & meat packing control, quality control, animal delivery, batch processing, weight accountability with no unaccounted yield loss for processing all animal and fresh meat products.
MODERN meat packing software solution works with INEXPENSIVE HARDWARE.


Use low cost meat packing hardware terminals, scales, and other equipment with farmsoft meat packing solutions. Use inexpensive hardware for meat packing, meat processing, and meat storage.


Farmsoft gives you the freedom to use any low cost hardware with the farmsoft meat packing app.
Low cost meat packing hardware inexpensive
Low cost meat packing hardware inexpensive (prices are roughly indicative for a meat processing plant with 10 meat processing / packing / meat boning stations). We do not sell meat packing hardware, you can buy your meat packing hardware from any vendor.
OLD MEAT PACKING HARDWARE SOLUTIONS
Old meat packing solutions tend to use expensive to purchase proprietary hardware that is often very expensive to install in a meat packing plant, and has excessive ongoing maintenance fees. These older meat packing solution vendors try to upsell you with hundreds of thousands of dollars of meat packing hardware. You don't have to waste precious resources that could be spent elsewhere in your meat packing plant.
Old solutions use outdated redundant and expensive technologies like RS232 networks which are expensive and inflexible, require a lot of expert configuration and maintenance. Old meat packing solutions often run only on Windows terminals which are slow, prone to viruses, and cost too much to purchase and maintain. Old meat packing solutions usually require you to purchase, administer, backup, and maintain your own server (expensive and a waste of your time and money).
Farmsoft offers an alternative, giving you the choice to use any inexpensive and low cost meat packing hardware for any sized meat packing and meat processing plant.
Administration and maintenance of meat packing plant hardware & I.T. infrastructure
Old meat packing solutions: $20,000+ per year
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $0
You don’t need to purchase & administer servers (Windows, MS SQL, anti-virus, backup software) because farmsoft runs in the cloud. Less Windows OS’s that need constant fixing & virus removal. No proprietary equipment with expensive repairs, parts, and maintenance. Less network equipment, complexity, and even less cables means less things go wrong; resulting in massively reduced network administration & maintenance expenses.
It just works.
Terminal for data entry during meat packing process:
Old meat packing solutions: $2000
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $200
Any Android / iOS tablet or phone / PC / Mac (old equipment is also compatible)
RFID reader (read animal RFID tags during slaughter, testing, evisceration, and inspection)
Old meat packing solutions: $3000
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $150
Any USB/wireless RFID reader in sleeve or ruggedized version, any Android RFID reading device
Barcode reader for inventory control of livestock and meat inventory:
 Old meat packing solutions: $3000
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $150
Any USB barcode reader (wireless), any Android professional Barcode reading device, any Android phone/tablet.
Scales & printers for weighing livestock and packed meat
 Old meat packing solutions: $3000
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $400
Any scale that can dump weight to PC clipboard via USB. Any 300+ dpi printers.
Meat packing plant network & network installation
Old meat packing solutions: $50,000
Modern farmsoft meat packing app: $5000 (or as little as $200 for a small business)
Devices require only Wi-Fi, this cuts the cost of cables, routers, and installation drastically as opposed to running cables to every device.

farmsoft meat packing app - Technical notes, hardware, requirements for the Meat processing & packing quality control app.   farmsoft meat packing app FAQ

Is farmsoft a finance app?
NO! But you can integrate farmsoft with other solutions for finance, accounting, hardware, CRM, payroll, ERP using the fully open farmsoft API which can be used by your I.T. department or any external I.T. vendor. If you want us to perform the integration for you, additional costs apply for, please enquire. Existing integration with other apps is limited to insertion of invoices and purchases one way transactions (for Xero) and export of data via export feature unless otherwise specified in this document.
Do you share my data?
We will never sell or share your data with any person, company, or government.
How long does it take to implement farmsoft meat packing app?
Implementation takes from 3 to 8 weeks, varies wildly based on business complexity. Average time 2-3 weeks.
Can I deploy farmsoft meat packing myself?
No, deployment is by professionals that have deployed many times. Without this experience your project would take 10 X longer to implement and has low chance of success. We will not provide farmsoft without managed implementation.
What languages is farmsoft in?
The interface is available in 14 languages, we can add more on request.
What if our broadband fails?
Keep a redundant internet connection through another company / infrastructure such as cable, OFC, ADSL, or phone hot spot, or keep a USB stick or 5G wi-fi router. The app requires an always on data connection.
Who develops & supports farmsoft meat packing?
We have been making food processing solutions since 2001, Tenacious Solutions Ltd 124 Broadkill Road #643, Milton DE 19968-1008 USA and have invested millions of $ in research and development to build farmsoft (current version is new, released in 2020). In Australia, the “official mark” and EXDOC/NEXTDOC part of our software is from our Australian subsidiary www.Producepak.com Pty Ltd PO BOX 7443 URANGAN, QLD, AUSTRALIA . Learn more about Tenacious Solutions Ltd here.
What are the costs if we need changes or additions to farmsoft meat packing?
We are happy to build new features or modify existing ones for your company. Please ask for a quotation for any special features you need added to farmsoft or use the API to add features through your I.T. department. We are unable to provide software development services for free, changing the app incurs an hourly fee. If you don’t want to pay this fee, don’t ask for changes.
What’s your refund policy for farmsoft meat packing?
Refunds will not be provided. It is your responsibility to perform full due diligence. Your project is not a trial or test.
Can you support my hardware?
If you didn’t buy it from us, we can’t support it, tell you how to use it, or configure it. We don’t sell hardware or accounting solutions and can’t tell you how to use or setup your financial solution, do not have a copy of your finance app or know how to use it. We provide support only for farmsoft, we can’t install your printer drivers or remove a virus from an old PC.
farmsoft meat packing app hardware requirements
MEAT PACKING TERMINALS TERMINALS
All terminal devices must run one of these browsers: Edge, Chrome, Opera, Brave, with 800x1200 min resolution & an always on internet connection of 0.5 M/bit minimum, no data is saved on your device, no app is installed.
PRINTING MEAT LABELS
To print from Android or iOS Install AirPrint etc, or purchase PaperCut (or similar), or the app from printer vendor to print PDF from browser ( 300+DPI required if you print barcodes).
USING YOUR OWN SERVER FOR FARMSOFT MEAT PACKING
Don’t do this unless you absolutely must, standard solution runs from our nearest data center (New York, Berlin, or Sydney) and is included in your quote. Please enquire, there is a cost to use your own server (server etc not provided by us: specs: Win Svr2019+, 16GB RAM+, 4 GHz+, MS SQL 2019+). Or you can have an exclusive server in our data center (we administer & provide server, no other company will be using your exclusive infrastructure, available in USA, Canada, European Union, Australia).


Meat processing & packing quality control is made easy with farmsoft Meat Packing app; manage all QC, criteria, and testing processes for meat processing and meat packing quality testing for export/importers of beef, pig, and other fresh meat products.


Meat packing quality control for export of beef, pig and other fresh meat products.
Easy meat & meat packing quality control!
 Each test can be configured to send instant alerts to selected staff if a test fails. Receive full QC report and photos instantly.
 Configure unlimited quality tests for customers, internal QC, QMS, government mandated quality tests, regulated livestock quality testing
 Attach unlimited photos, lab tests & documents to QC tests
 Tests can be associated with anything such as animal, lot, batch, supplier, customer, order, delivery, shipment and more…
 Test types include pass/fail, score, value range, percentage of sample.
 Full quality control solution can be configured for livestock, meat during the curing or dry-ageing process, meat pre pack quality control, post pack meat quality control, pre-shipment and pre export QC.
The farmsoft meat packing app guides each quality station for maximum accuracy & speed:
 Processes are configurable for each type of animal and station, perform basic meat processing, or perform value added manufacturing
 Each station can enter / access only data relevant to their tasks, and rapidly record outputs. Includes carcass processing and subsequent boning processes.
 Rapidly switch to next animal (or jump around if carcasses not being processed in the intended order)
 Each station can work simultaneously on different animals or lots.
 Easily pull a carcass for testing, suspicion of quality problem, or to condemn
 Carcasses market for testing can’t be further processed until the testing process is completed (this stops the carcass from being boned or sold)
 Marking a carcass for drag in automatically removes halal status
 Verify animal RFID in as many steps as required
 Automatically assigned animal inventory numbers
 Schedule livestock in batches (unlimited livestock pens for storage of livestock)
 Production management can:
 Schedule production to fill specific orders
 Monitor progress of each lot
 View outputs from production
Quality feedback management for meat customers
Manage & analyze customer complaints, capture customer comments, photos, documents, and more. Trace customer complaints back to the original supplier of livestock, or establishment. Instant alerts to relevant staff when a customer complaint/feedback is received.
Livestock supplier quality management
Simple or comprehensive supplier quality management using unlimited quality management programs, which can be supplier specific, livestock type specific, or generic for all suppliers. Each supplier quality program records notes, photos & more, linked to supplier delivery, batch, purchase order, etc.
Share quality results directly from the app with your suppliers. Instant alerts if a test fails.
Pick & send orders rapidly
 Scan inventory onto pallets or allow farmsoft to suggest exact inventory for each order based on FIFO & order specs.
 Build new pallets / shipping containers from existing inventory to fill orders
 Shipping container management
 The correct documents (invoice, BOL, shipping) are presented or automatically sent to admin when the order is filled and sent to government export systems via the cloud.
Complete meat sales process…
 Capture customer orders & specs (used on boning specification sheets) and meat quality requirements
 Monitor & manage the progress of meat order picking, quality control, and shipping from the Logistics dashboard
 Assign transport details to orders and perform quality control on individual shipments and individual shipping containers (truck, license, driver name, shipping container #, temp rec #, seal #, export details, etc)
 Assign loading order of each order
 Manage prices, including price list management for specific parts, and groups of customers (used on orders automatically)
 Attach unlimited documents to orders (international shipping documents, certificate of origin, lab tests etc)
 Capture any special information you need on the order, including fields specific to livestock processing (your consultant will configure this for you).
 Attach photos of truck / shipping containers to shipments for QC and insurance purposes

Traceability matrix seafood meat, poultry. Meat traceability requirements with farmsoft meat packing app. raceability matrix fresh produce fruit and vegetable seafood meat:
[Meat Packing (Australian) edition of farmsoft - download brochure here]
Produce traceability makes it possible to track produce from its point of origin to a retail location where it is purchased by consumers.

Produce traceability is an important link in protecting public health since it allows health agencies to more quickly and accurately identify the source of contaminated fruit or vegetables believed to be the cause of an outbreak of foodborne illness, remove them from the marketplace, and communicate to the supply chain.

Since many fruits and vegetables are eaten raw, the produce industry‚ from farmer to retailer, works diligently to protect these foods from contamination. Despite their best efforts, foreign matter can occasionally contaminate produce in the field or orchard, in packing or processing, in transit or storage.

Because traceability systems can provide information on the source, location, movement and storage conditions of produce, they also allow growers, packers, processors and distributors to identify factors affecting quality and delivery.

Beginning in 2008, an industry-led effort to enhance traceability throughout the entire produce supply chain was launched as the Produce Traceability Initiative.


Try the pepper traceability app from farmsoft:

Traceability matrix fresh produce fruit and vegetable seafood meat
The produce (including pepper & capsicum) industry continues to evolve to meet consumers’ needs. Consumers today are much more knowledgeable and demanding about the foods they purchase. The increased focus on food safety and consumer awareness raises the need to identify and adopt business practices and standards that will aid the produce sector’s ability to track and trace product throughout the supply chain. It is important to note that different regions may have different requirements. Users are reminded to be aware of the requirements in target markets (both business and regulatory).



Meat packing app makes quality control, receival, batch processing, high weight accountability with no unaccounted yield loss for processing all animal and fresh meat products. The premium meat packing software solution for modern meat packers and meat processors.


Complete meat packing and meat processing business management. The app manages meat deliveries, batch processing and meat packing, sales and distribution. Maintain high levels of traceability during the meat packing process.


Meatpacking refers to the process of turning livestock into meat, including slaughter, processing, packaging and distribution. These days, the top meatpacking companies do not just produce meat, they also control how the animals are raised long before slaughter: in the chicken industry, companies oversee the process from chick genetics through supermarket packaging; in the beef industry, cattle come under the control of the big meatpackers four to six months before slaughter.
The ownership of all parts of the supply chain is called vertical integration. It gives integrators – the companies who have integrated all the different parts under one umbrella – control over price and quality; and the economies of scale they have achieved have helped to drive down the consumer prices of meat. Vertical integration has also allowed the meat industry to become highly consolidated, controlled by just a few companies: As of 2015, the four largest companies in each sector controlled 85 percent of the beef packing industry, 66 percent of pork packing, and 51 percent of broiler chicken processing. 1 The slaughter and packing plants these few companies run operate on a tremendous scale: in 2015, 85 percent of beef cattle slaughtered took place in just 30 US slaughter facilities (of the almost 650), with more than half slaughtered in 13 plants. These top 13 plants process more than one million animals per year, which is approximately 2,800 cattle/day, 365 days/year. 2

Pre cooked lunch meat manufacturing app for food manufacturers of meatballs, luncheon, baloney, frankfurter, hot dog, taco meat, sausage manufacturing: manages pre-cooked meat inventory, pre-cooked meat quality control, orders & production, sales & shipping for reduced pre-cooked meat weight.


Pre cooked lunch meat manufacturing app:
For food manufacturers of meatballs, luncheon, baloney, frankfurter, hot dog, taco meat manufacturing: manages pre-cooked meat inventory, pre-cooked meat quality control, orders & production, sales & shipping for reduced pre-cooked meat weight.
[Meat Packing (Australian) edition of farmsoft - download brochure here]
Processed Meats: Convenience, Nutrition, Taste
Pre cooked lunch meat manufacturing app
Pre cooked lunch meat manufacturing app
Processed meat and poultry products like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, ham and other deli meats are great American traditions and iconic foods. In fact, bacon is often called the ultimate “conversion food” because it tempts even the strictest vegetarian. Processed meat and poultry products are commonly called “convenience meats” because they have already been prepared for easy and safe consumption by consumers. These products are offered in a variety of choices so the consumer can make the best food decision for their lifestyle.
Ninety six percent of Americans make meat and poultry products part of their diets. But recently, questions have arisen about processed meat and poultry products. What are they? How are they different from fresh meat and poultry products? Are they safe and nutritious? This consumer guide aims to provide the facts about processed meat and poultry products. It also offers a guide to the many choices available in the meat and poultry case today. In this way, armed with information, you can make the best choice for you and your family. 

Slaughterhouse software from Farmsoft manages livestock inventory for beef, bison, sheep: Full slaughterhouse management solution from livestock delivery to customer collection of processed animal products.

A slaughterhouse, also called abattoir (/ˈæbətwɑːr/ (listen)), is a facility where animals are slaughtered to provide food for humans. Slaughterhouses supply meat, which then becomes the responsibility of a packaging facility.

Slaughterhouses that produce meat that is not intended for human consumption are sometimes referred to as knacker's yards or knackeries. This is where animals are slaughtered that are not fit for human consumption or that can no longer work on a farm, such as retired work horses.

Slaughtering animals on a large scale poses significant issues in terms of logistics, animal welfare, and the environment, and the process must meet public health requirements. Due to public aversion in different cultures, determining where to build slaughterhouses is also a matter of some consideration.

Frequently, animal rights groups raise concerns about the methods of transport to and from slaughterhouses, preparation prior to slaughter, animal herding, and the killing itself.[1]


Slaughterhouse software from Farmsoft manages livestock inventory for beef, bison, sheep: Full slaughterhouse management solution from livestock delivery to customer collection of processed animal products.

These slaughterhouses were regulated by law to ensure good standards of hygiene, the prevention of the spread of disease and the minimization of needless animal cruelty. The slaughterhouse had to be equipped with a specialized water supply system to effectively clean the operating area of blood and offal. Veterinary scientists, notably George Fleming and John Gamgee, campaigned for stringent levels of inspection to ensure that epizootics such as rinderpest (a devastating outbreak of the disease covered all of Britain in 1865) would not be able to spread. By 1874, three meat inspectors were appointed for the London area, and the Public Health Act 1875 required local authorities to provide central slaughterhouses (they were only given powers to close unsanitary slaughterhouses in 1890).[13] Yet the appointment of slaughterhouse inspectors and the establishment of centralised abattoirs took place much earlier in the British colonies, such as the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria, and in Scotland where 80% of cattle were slaughtered in public abattoirs by 1930.[14] In Victoria the Melbourne Abattoirs Act 1850 (NSW) "confined the slaughtering of animals to prescribed public abattoirs, while at the same time prohibiting the killing of sheep, lamb, pigs or goats at any other place within the city limits".[15] Animals were shipped alive to British ports from Ireland, from Europe and from the colonies and slaughtered in large abattoirs at the ports. Conditions were often very poor.[16]


Slaughterhouse software from Farmsoft manages livestock inventory for beef, bison, sheep: Full slaughterhouse management solution from livestock delivery to customer collection of processed animal products.

Attempts were also made throughout the British Empire to reform the practice of slaughter itself, as the methods used came under increasing criticism for causing undue pain to the animals. The eminent physician, Benjamin Ward Richardson, spent many years in developing more humane methods of slaughter. He brought into use no fewer than fourteen possible anesthetics for use in the slaughterhouse and even experimented with the use of electric current at the Royal Polytechnic Institution.[17] As early as 1853, he designed a lethal chamber that would gas animals to death relatively painlessly, and he founded the Model Abattoir Society in 1882 to investigate and campaign for humane methods of slaughter.

The invention of refrigeration and the expansion of transportation networks by sea and rail allowed for the safe exportation of meat around the world. Additionally, meat-packing millionaire Philip Danforth Armour's invention of the "disassembly line" greatly increased the productivity and profit margin of the meat packing industry: "according to some, animal slaughtering became the first mass-production industry in the United States." This expansion has been accompanied by increased concern about the physical and mental conditions of the workers along with controversy over the ethical and environmental implications of slaughtering animals for meat.[3]

The Edinburgh abattoir, which was built in 1910, had well lit laboratories, hot and cold water, gas, microscopes and equipment for cultivating organisms. The English 1924 Public Health (Meat) Regulations required notification of slaughter to enable inspection of carcasses and enabled inspected carcasses to be marked.[18]

The development of slaughterhouses was linked with industrial expansion of by-products. By 1932 the British by-product industry was worth about £97 million a year, employing 310,000 people. The Aberdeen slaughterhouse sent hooves to Lancashire to make glue, intestines to Glasgow for sausages and hides to the Midland tanneries. In January 1940 the British government took over the 16,000 slaughterhouses and by 1942 there were only 779.[19]
 

Inside the Slaughterhouse
Most Americans never see the inside of the factories where beef cattle are slaughtered and processed. FRONTLINE asked Bill Haw, CEO of one of the country's biggest cattle feedlot operations, and journalists Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser to describe what it's like -- for the cows and the people who butcher them -- inside the slaughterhouse. Here are excerpts from their interviews.


photo of pollanMichael Pollan
His New York Times Magazine article "Power Steer" (March 31, 2002) traces the life of a cow destined for slaughter.

read the interviewSo when will your cow meet its end?

My cow has a date with the knocker, or the stunner, in June. One day in June, he will be judged sufficiently fat, because they really do get obese. And they move around at the end with that kind of the lugubrious awkwardness of the truly obese. And the owner of the feedlot, the manager, will say, "This pen is ready."

Then they will get on another truck and travel 100 miles to Liberal, Kansas, to a National Beef plant there. They will be put in a pen in a parking lot and wait their turn, and go up the ramp, and through a blue door. I was not allowed to go through the blue door. The kill floor is not something that journalists are allowed to see, even if you own the animal, I learned.

But I have reconstructed what happens on the other side of the blue door. What happens is that the animals go in single file. At a certain point, they pass over a bar, their legs on both sides, and the floor slowly drops away, and at that point they're being carried along sort of on that bar, which is a conveyor belt, and they then pass through a station where there's a man on the catwalk above. He's holding an object that looks like a power nailing gun or something. It's a pneumatic device called a stunner.

This essentially injects a metal bolt. It's about the size and length of a thick pencil into its brain, right between the eyes, and that should render the animal brain dead.

At that point, chains will be attached to his rear legs. He will be lifted up by the chains. The chains are attached to an overhead trolley, and then he will be bled. Another person in another station will stick a long knife in and cut his aorta and bleed the animal. And then he will be completely dead.

And from there he goes through a series of stations to clean him and to remove his hide. One of the real problems is that the animals have spent their [lives] lying in their manure, are smeared and caked with the stuff, and they're entering the food plant. And so many steps are taken to make sure that the manure doesn't infect the meat, which can happen very easily.

And this is really just the source of food-safety problems in the industry, in the beef industry, is microbes in the manure getting into the meat. So how do you stop that?




photo of schlosserEric Schlosser
Author, Fast Food Nation

read the interview[H]ow do [slaughterhouses] contribute to the spreading of pathogens or the increased food safety risks?

... At a slaughterhouse, you have big animals entering at one end, and small cuts of meat leaving at the other end. In between are hundreds of workers, mainly using handheld knives, processing the meat. So during that whole production system, there are many opportunities for the meat to be contaminated. What we're really talking about is fecal contamination of the meat from the stomach contents or the hide of the animal.

... The slaughterhouses that the United States have are pretty unique in terms of the speed of production. We have slaughterhouses that will process 300, 400 cattle an hour, which is as much as twice as many as anywhere else in the world. And it's that speed of production that can lead to food-safety problems. When workers are working very quickly, they may make mistakes. It's during the evisceration of the animal, or the removal of the hide, that manure can get on the meat. And when manure gets on some meat, and then that meat is ground up with lots of other meat, the whole lot of it can be contaminated. ...


I would imagine that a lot goes into the design of these factory production lines to make them very efficient. ... So you would think that they would be expert at doing their job and therefore contain the pathogens in some way. Is that how it works?

There have been a lot of technological advances in slaughterhouses, and especially food safety technology improvements since the Jack in the Box outbreak, these steam cabinets and various washes and interventions. But one of the problems is the high, high turnover rate among workers at these plants. The industry averages anywhere from 75 percent to 100 percent a year, which means you have a constant flow of workers in and out of these jobs.

Ideally, what you would have would be skilled workers and a stable work force, so that people really know the jobs they're doing and can do them properly. ... That's not what we have right now ... especially [with] some of the most important jobs in terms of the evisceration and the tying off of the intestines. These are really unpleasant jobs, and if the workers are not skilled at doing them, they can make mistakes that contaminate the meat. ...


I've always had the sense that a slaughterhouse is a terrible job. It's a difficult job. That people have been doing too much in too short a time. Is it really any different now?

It's very different now. Work in a slaughterhouse has changed enormously in the last 25 years. It's always been a difficult job. It's always been a dangerous job. But up until recently, this was a job that had good pay, had good benefits, and you had a very stable work force. In the early 1970s, meatpacking had one of the lowest turnover rates of any industrial job in America. It was like being an autoworker.

Then they cut wages, they cut benefits, broke unions. And now it has one of the highest turnover rates of any industrial job. So you have a constant churning of the workers. And just like airport security -- where the airport security workers had a high turnover rate and [were] being treated badly and paid poorly, and that has an impact on airport safety -- I think the same is true with food safety.

The people who are working in these plants should be well trained and well paid, and it should be a stable work force. I think that would have a big impact on the safety of the food we eat. ...




photo of hawBill Haw
CEO of Kansas City's National Farms, which operates one of the largest cattle feedlot operations in the country

read the interviewDescribe [the slaughterhouse] for me. People really don't know what it's like in there.

Well, the slaughterhouse is not a pretty thing. I mean, it's a necessary process. It's a highly efficient process. But it's not now, nor never will be, a very pretty thing. Animals come there to die, to be eviscerated, to be decapitated, to be de-hided -- and all of those are violent, bloody and difficult things to watch. So your first and foremost impression of at least the initial stages of the packing house are a very violent, very dehumanizing sort of thing.

But the fact is, we are meat eaters, most of us. And it's a highly efficient way and a reasonably humane way. The animals are rendered unconscious before any of this happens. I think there's a concern for humane treatment of the animals. But the process itself is a violent and unpleasant sort of thing. ...

As you progressively go down the chain ... it becomes a less violent, a less bloody, a less difficult thing to watch, and really becomes kind of a miracle of efficiency as that live animal is reduced to a carcass and the carcass is reduced to parts that we're very familiar with in eating. ... The economies of scale, the mobilization of capital -- all of those things that drive businesses are very much at work in the packing industry. ...


You describe it as this difficult environment for the animal, to some degree. What about for the worker? I understand that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says it's the most dangerous job in America.

Certainly worker safety historically not been as good as it should have been in the packing industry. It is becoming better and better -- both humanely driven by the management of the packing companies, and very selfishly driven by the fact that the lack of safe practices can become an incredibly expensive thing. So packers have continued to develop better safety practices, individual automation of individual acts that reduce the stress on the individuals working in the packing business. It is still a tough way to make a living; a difficult job.


Particularly with the line speeds; they're fast, people are in close [quarters], they're wielding knives. ...

The line speed is, of course, an issue that people are concerned about. The faster the line goes the more efficient the operation is, certainly, up to a point. But also the speed with which the working people are required to work increases. The trick is to find that balance between efficient and reasonable production, and going beyond that point to where you endanger the workers who are working with knives, with sawing devices. And you can protect them with chain mail and gloves and other equipment. But they're still working with knives and other cutting devices that, as people become more fatigued, become more dangerous. ...


It's tough work.

It is tough work. And it's essentially dehumanizing work. There's a lot of blood and a lot of heavy activity that goes on. I think the packing plants have dramatically improved their working conditions over a period of time.

It's a low-margin business, and I think the temptation certainly was to drive their people very hard, at one point. But I visited with a major packer just last night, as a matter of fact. And their turnover, for instance, has dramatically slowed down. They're retaining workers better. Working conditions are becoming better. There's a great sensitivity to things like carpal tunnel syndrome.