Abattoir

Pig Abattoirs

Pig abattoirs process swine for meat. These slaughterhouses use machinery and human workers to create an effect process that follows specific guidelines to ensure the product is safe for human consumption. What product is not used for meat is sent to be rendered further for animal by-products such as soaps, oils, and animal feed, this has made the process much more effective than it has been previously.

Processing

Pigs enter the abattoir and are kept in holding for a minimum of 24 hours. During this time, they are properly hydrated, to flush out any bacteria and toxins. Additionally, this time frame allows for preliminary inspection of the product to rule out ill animals. Pigs are weighed in order to properly account for their predicted yield. The processing stage has been improved over the years to ensure that no 'ill' animals get through the process, which could lead to complications down the line.

Stunning

In accordance with the majority of national laws regarding humane slaughter practices, the pigs are stunned to render them incapacitated or unconscious during the exsanguinations process. There are two main ways to stun a pig. The first method is the same as with cattle and sheep, this employs an electric shock administered to the back of the skull or to the temple. This causes cerebral epilepsy. The second method incorporates the use of CO2 gas to knock out the pig. This process also can be done in mass amounts, allowing the human aspect of the stunning process to be eliminated.

Slaughter

Pigs are strung up upside-down by their hind quarters. They are then stuck, which allows blood to freely flow into a drain and taken to a rendering facility. The carotid artery and the jugular vein are sliced, and the animal bleeds out for a minimum of five minutes. The draining of the blood also allows the muscles to relax before the de-hairing process begins.

Scalding and De-hairing

Pigs, unlike cattle and horses, are not skinned. They are treated much like poultry in the cleaning manner. Pigs are sent through a scalding process where hot steam or water is sprayed at them in intense bursts to open pores and release loose hairs. Once the scalding is complete, the pig passes through a de-hairing machine that sprays water in full force at the carcass, dislodging much of the remaining hair. Then, the pig is strung up by its hind and hand scrubbed to release any residual hair. Finally, resistant hair is removed by a gas flame.

Preparation

Once hair-free, the carcass is sent to be beheaded. The head is cleaned and inspected at this point. Next, the carcass is separated into sections. The internal organs are carefully removed to prevent any contamination and the edible internal organs, heart and liver, are separated and set aside for further processing and cleaning. Once this is complete, the carcass is washed in a mild salt solution to remove blood, bone, and organ tissue. Once clean, the meat is chilled to help ease the deboning and butchering processes.

Above is the process that the majority of pig abattoirs follow, however, not all of the abattoirs follow this method exactly.