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Understanding the Cattle Slaughter Line

A cattle slaughter line is a fully integrated process designed to handle the entire journey of cattle from arrival at the abattoir to final meat processing. This line incorporates a series of specialized equipment, machines, and accessories to ensure efficient, safe, and humane slaughtering and processing.

Scale of Operations

The scale of a cattle slaughter line varies based on daily production capacity, typically measured over an 8-hour shift:

  • Minimum Capacity: 15-30 heads/day
  • Small Scale: 50-100 heads/day
  • Medium Scale: 150-250 heads/day
  • Large Scale: Over 350 heads/day

Detailed Operation Process

1. Arrival and Pre-Slaughter Care

  • Healthy cattle enter waiting lairage or pens.
  • Cattle are deprived of food and water for 12-24 hours to prepare them for slaughter.

2. Pre-Slaughter Preparation

  • Weighing: Cattle are weighed upon arrival.
  • Showering: Cattle are showered to cleanse them before slaughter.

3. Stunning and Killing

  • Halal Slaughter Line: No stunning; cattle are restrained in a halal killing box.
  • Regular Slaughter Line:
    • Stunning: Cattle are stunned using a humane method to ensure they are unconscious.
    • Hoisting: Stunned cattle are hoisted for easier handling.
    • Killing and Bleeding: Cattle are killed and allowed to bleed out for 5-6 minutes.
    • Electrical Stimulation: Applied to improve meat quality.

4. Carcass Processing

  • Pre-Peeling and Peeling: The skin is removed and transported to a temporary storage room via an air delivery system.
  • Head Cutting: The head is removed and inspected separately.
  • Esophagus Sealing: The esophagus is sealed to prevent contamination.
  • Chest Opening: The chest cavity is opened for internal inspection.

5. Offal Removal and Inspection

  • White Viscera Removal: Organs like the stomach and intestines are removed and placed on the white viscera quarantine conveyor for inspection.
  • Red Viscera Removal: Organs like the heart and liver are removed and hung on the red viscera quarantine conveyor for inspection.

6. Splitting and Final Processing

  • Carcass Splitting: The carcass is split into halves for easier handling.
  • Inspection and Trimming: The carcass is inspected, trimmed, and weighed.
  • Washing: The carcass is thoroughly washed.

7. Chilling and Further Processing

  • Chilling: Carcasses are chilled to 0-4°C to preserve meat quality.
  • Quartering and Deboning: Carcasses are quartered and deboned.
  • Cutting and Packaging: Meat is cut, weighed, and packaged according to market demand.

8. Storage and Sales

  • Freezing or Fresh Keeping: Meat is either frozen or kept fresh.
  • Cartoning and Cold Storage: Packaged meat is stored in cartons and kept in cold storage until sale.

Offal Processing

  • Qualified White Viscera: Processed in the white viscera room; stomach contents are transported to a waste storage room.
  • Unqualified Carcasses and Offal: Removed for high-temperature treatment.
  • Qualified Red Viscera: Processed in the red viscera room.

Conclusion

This modern cattle slaughter process ensures a comprehensive and efficient approach to meat production, adhering to the highest standards of hygiene and humane treatment. By following these detailed steps, abattoirs can maintain quality and safety while meeting various production scales.

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