A Disassembly Factory

The easiest analogy to describe what it is like in a meat slaughter and processing facility is to imagine a car factory.   Imagine a car production line where a car chassis is suspended by a hook from the ceiling and it moves from station to station as this part and that part are added and attached and ultimately the car is assembled.

Now imagine the opposite of that.  Rather than assembling a car, a meat plant is disassembling an animal.  After it is slaughtered, the animal hangs from a hook by its leg and moves along the disassembly line.  Each butcher along the way has a specific job.   The blood is drained, the feet are cut off, the head is removed, the hide is mechanically pulled off, the belly is opened and the guts are released, the side of beef is split with a giant handheld bandsaw/chainsaw, and a few dozen other various things happen that I can’t explain because I don’t know the names of the parts.  And, that’s just on the kill floor.

The sides of beef then move on rails to the chiller to chill down.  When it comes out of there, it is separated to hind and fore, both of which move down separate disassembly lines.  A progression of butchers separate the bones and the larger cuts and put them in various chutes.  From there, the meat gets cut up into smaller and smaller pieces by other butchers until it is in a more familiar form to us.  Nothing is wasted.  The aorta goes here.  The jowl goes there.  In addition to the whole muscle cuts, the blood gets used by the medical/pharma industry, bones get made into pet food and the trimmings which are a mix of fat and meat get graded by percentage of fat content and ultimately become ground beef.

In the New Zealand Grass-fed Beef plant that I just toured, there must have been 300 workers each with their own very specific job.

I have a lot to share, but wanted to get this post out today.  More to follow tomorrow hopefully…

Next Post in This Series:
I Grew Up in a Slaughterhouse

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