I can't tell you how excited I am that the Puget Sound area has finally gotten its mobile abattoir program rolling. Following the lead of San Juan County, small farms in the area now have access to a mobile slaughterhouse unit that allows them to not have to ship their animals down to Oregon for USDA-inspected facility "processing".
It didn't make sense for these local farms to be able to tout their products as local if there was so much mileage involved in getting their meat from farm to table. This specially built, 45-foot, stainless-steel trailer, officially called a "Mobile Meat Processing Unit", now lets small, local farms supply local meat without all the hassles inherent in selling live animals to consumers.
This whole thing got me thinking about chickens, so I asked the program manager of Puget Sound Fresh if this unit is available to a collective of backyard urban chicken farmers and, apparently, it's just for hooved animals. However, I was informed that there are actually small units you can buy/rent for backyard efforts.
For those of you in the area, a group on Vashon Island got a small grant to purchase a plucker and now they train people on how to harvest their chickens and process them. So, I can certainly see how a group of backyard chicken breeders could band together to process their own birds. It would certainly take a lot of the issues out of dispatching your own cluckers.
Would you be more apt to raise animals for meat if you had access to either an abattoir or a local group to help you?
Picture courtesy of The Seattle Times.