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Homekill Slaughter.


I have endeavoured to ensure that you have reached this page because you have definitely chosen to view its contents.  The subject is the homekill slaughter of one of our steers.  If you don't wish to see pictures of a large animal being skinned and cut up, please go back or select another option from the bar above.

There are no pictures of him being shot, or falling down, this is just an informational series of pictures about the process of readying a beast to go from the paddock to the butcher.

I have created this page because this is where meat comes from!  As a visitor said the other day, "I used to think meat just came from a freezer".


Tuesday the 30th of March, 2004.

When Lloyd, the slaughter man, arrived this afternoon, I told him which animal of the three in the paddock was the one he was to shoot and left him to it, returning only after 355 was dead.  I was instrumental in creating the life of this animal and have taken care of him throughout the three and a half years since - I didn't wish to watch as he crumpled to the ground.

After he fell, the steer was then quickly bled (the carotid artery slit so that the blood was released).  The two heifers were curious about their mate being on the ground suddenly and got a bit excited by the smell of the blood, so we took them out of the paddock and left them to wander away upwind.

Lloyd then turned the steer onto his back and kept him in position with a metal prop...

and began the skinning process.

The two heifers, now upwind of the action, are quite unconcerned about our activities.

The chest is opened ...

then the hind legs suspended on the bar attached to the winch ...

and the pelvis cut through ...

and the skinning continues.

The steer is then winched right up ...

the digestive organs falling out as that happens ...

leaving behind the kidneys (darker lumps contained in the fat in the middle of the opening) and the liver;
the lungs are out of sight, further forward in the chest.

Then using the cleaver again, Lloyd splits the spine in half ...

skins a bit more ...

chops a bit more ...

until the beast is in two halves ...

and then four quarters ...

and the whole lot loaded onto the back of the truck - he makes it look pretty easy,
but those hind quarters are probably about 75kg each.

Lloyd will now take this lot to the butcher, who will hang the meat for over a week in a chiller, and then cut it according to our requirements and return it to us, neatly bagged, ready to be frozen.

The trailer in the pictures is where all the "waste" bits go, which Lloyd will take away to some huge offal pit somewhere. It's an interesting collection - for the unsqueamish - often including embryonic calves at all sorts of developmental stages, because people have had heifers killed often not realising they were pregnant.  Lloyd told me he has often saved such calves, if they've been near to full-term.  Occasionally there'll be a mummified calf, beautifully preserved within the uterus of its mother (who will have been subsequently infertile as a result) usually a reduced leathery body, a most interesting occurrence.

The largest part of the digestive organs is the rumen, wherein the chewed grass is fermented, brought back up as cud, for the animal to chew again and so on.  It's the biggest "bag" in the pictures above and is cut open so its contents get left on the ground as the rest is taken away.  If one wants it, any part of the offal can be retained for food use.

I took the liver for dissection, to check its health and to see if I could find any liver fluke alive within it.  I spent a long time interestedly examining its structure, but could find little evidence of damage and no fluke, which is encouraging, considering that this animal's fluke drench history has been sketchy, since I kept thinking he'd soon be meat.

Lloyd takes and sells the hide to cover part of his cost to do the job and I get charged the difference between whatever hides currently fetch on the market, and his fee.

Please ask questions if I've missed anything from this page which I ought to have covered.


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