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3.1 Water and Drainage

All public slaughter premises must have a dependable source of clean water or what is normally referred to as potable water, preferably pipe-borne, to maintain hygienic and sanitary services in the plant. The water must be well distributed in terms of point-location inside the premises and must be hot, if possible, for hygienic washing of products and facilities.

In the absence of pipe-borne water, surface or underground water from rivers and wells can be used but must be pre-treated. It would be useful, however, to instal a reservoir or tank on the premises as a security against shortages and breakdown of pumps.

Side by side with water is the question of drainage. All washings or wet cleaning must course over the slaughter floor into a collecting drainage and empty eventually outside the building. The floor should be designed to slope toward the main collecting drain, the latter in turn to slope toward exterior connecting pipes. While the walls must have a hard smooth surface to prevent staining with blood and fat and hence facilitate cleaning, the floor must be rough or grooved to forestall slipping.

3.2 Lighting and Ventilation

Lighting is another important requirement. In the cities and towns, connection with the main municipal electricity supply should be possible, but failing that a diesel generator can be installed. Transparent insets can also be made in the roofing at vantage points to provide natural lighting or sky-lighting. Wide lintel windows or bay openings, covered with gauze to exclude insects, also serve the same purpose, as well as provide ventilation.

3.3 Basic Equipment

The standard installation and equipment required in modern slaughter premises are those necessary to effect a rapid and hygienic conversion of livestock into meat in what might be called the dressing operations, and those required to prepare the offal for further use or disposal into waste, otherwise referred to loosely as cleaning and rendering operations. The facilities required for these services must be carefully selected and kept separate.

  1. For dressing (including immobilization) the following are important:

    1. Stunning Pen: A small or narrow enclosure into which the animal is led from the Lairage to be rendered unconscious (in conventional slaughter) after which it is bled; also referred to as the knocking pen;

    2. The Hoise: A device for lifting up the stunned animal for bleeding; it can be operated manually, mechanically or electrically. The hoisting system is often built into an overhead rail-system to facilitate movement of the animal for dressing and the carcass for inspection;

    3. Skinning Cradle: A metal or plastic rest with a trestle arrangement onto which the bled animal is placed for skinning and evisceration, often used where a hoist system is unavailable;

  2. The offal gear comprises the following as major equipment:

    1. Collecting Troughs: These are containers for receiving blood or collecting gut material and are also utilizable for disposal of non-carcass components such as shanks and hoofs;

    2. Offal Cleaning Tables: Often built into the offal chamber wall, they may be of concrete, galvanized metal or stainless steel and provided with high pressure water points for cleaning offal.

3.4 Orientation of Slaughter Floor Activities

As far as possible, the carcass dressing and offal cleaning operations should be kept separate. In large slaughterhouses, this is achieved by physical demarcation of the slaughter premises into distinct operational zones or by the disposition of the working gear as a whole.

Where this is not possible, as in a slaughterslab which may operate on a single “all-purpose” floor, the separation of dressing and cleaning operations can be effected by orientation of the activities in such a way that they follow in one direction only. Care must be exercised however, in dressing operations as skinning and evisceration have contaminating influences. Blood collection and the initial handling of condemned meat must also be done carefully and away from the carcass. The practice of slaughtering animals in any available space within the premises is negative to this concept and should be discouraged.

3.5 Slaughtering Tools

Relatively fewer tools are required for the slaughter of small ruminants, and some can be made by local metal workshops or blacksmiths. They include the following (see also Fig. 2).

  1. Sticking Knife: A knife with a six-inch blade (15.2 cm) and a v-shaped end used in severing the blood vessels of the neck to bleed the animal;

  2. Skinning Knife: As the name implies, this knife is used for the removal of the animal's skin. Also with a six-inch blade and characteristically curved backwards to allow for ease of operation, it can be used to scrape off burned hair from carcasses being dressed with the skin-on;

  3. Meat Saw: A replaceable blade handsaw which is used in sawing through bone;

  4. Meat Chop: Also called the cleaver, the mea chop is a heavy axe used for separating heavy structures, e.g. the head from the neck or the shanks from the leg;

  5. Spreader: A metal device for suspending the animal body and spreading out the legs for dressing and inspection;

  6. Grinding and Honing Stones: Grinding stones are coarse grained and used for the initial sharpening of knives into thin edges, then finished with the honer which is of fine-grain to provide extra thinness. Either oil or water may be used in sharpening knives to prevent the stone from heating the knives;

  7. Steel: A long, tapering rounded and smooth metal rod on which knives are smoothened from time to time to improve keenness;

  8. Meat Tree/Hooks: Metal devices with bent ot curved ends for holding or displaying parts of the slaughtered meat and offal for washing and inspection.


Fig 2

The above list constitutes the most important tools required in the slaughter of small ruminants. At the end of the slaughter operation, they must be washed with detergents or disinfectants before being stored. Blade-edged tools must be sterilized while those liable to corrode should be oiled.

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