Earlier this summer, vets Robert and Emily went along with four of our beef farmer clients to a ‘Live to Dead’ event run by AHDB at Elliot’s Slaughterhouse near Chesterfield.
The day comprised a mixture of lectures and practical sessions and, despite the typical British summer weather, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.
We were lucky enough for one of the farmers attending to have brought two of his own cattle with him to be slaughtered that day, allowing us to view the animals while alive and make our own judgments as to what carcass grade the animals would achieve at slaughter (on the EUROP scale) and what weight they would kill out at.
Being able to judge accurate body weights is obviously of huge importance as almost all veterinary medicines are dosed to the bodyweight of the animal – accuracy is therefore vital if we want the drugs to work effectively.
The after-lunch session consisted of a talk on how the requirements for meat have changed over the years (a move from large family-sized joints to smaller, quicker-to-cook cuts of meat) and how this has affected farmers’ production systems (depending on what market farmers are selling into, there may be a requirement for smaller carcass sizes with penalties being issued for animals which are too large).
We were also able to go into the abattoir (in the very fetching outfits seen in the photo!) to view the highly efficient production line and also have a look at the carcasses of the animals that we had attempted to grade ourselves that morning – some of us were more accurate than others on our estimations!
All in all, a very enjoyable and informative day was had by all. We hope to be able to organise more of these events for our levy-paying clients in conjunction with AHDB, so if you would be interested in attending such an event please contact us at the practice and we can put you on a waiting list.