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A mobile vehicle, usually a tractor trailer, that travels to a farm or ranch to slaughter livestock on site under the supervision of a USDA inspector. Instead of trucking livestock hundreds of miles, mobile slaughterhouses allow meat to stay local.  Of equal importance, they encourage humane treatment of the animals by reducing or eliminating the stress the animals might feel during transport to a slaughterhouse.

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Mobile Slaughterhouse

Mobile Slaughterhouse

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

Mobile Slaughterhouse



This mobile slaughterhouse, the first sanctioned by the USDA, is an 8×12 foot trailer fitted with a sink, a 300 gallon water tank, a cooling locker with carcass hooks and a Jarvis 404 well saw. Two butchers work while one USDA inspector waits off screen.

Nick has been farming on Lopez Island for ten years. Instead of trucking livestock hundreds of miles—or in Nick’s case shipping them off this island—mobile slaughterhouses allow meat to stay local. The MSU allowed Nick to incubate his farm in the early years. While it isn’t the most economical solution (it costs approximately $650 per cow, $250 per hog and about $120 per goat or sheep), the MSU connects Nick with his fellow farmers and allows him to play a vital role in his community. The MSU also allows Nick to remain on Lopez Island where, due to climate, geography and history, he can produce truly distinctive, extremely high quality foods.

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