The first fully-licensed mobile livestock slaughter unit in California will improve animal welfare by eliminating long journeys to slaughterhouses and improve meat quality, claims its operator Central Coast Agricultural Cooperative (CCAC).

The 28-foot-long trailer unit, powered by a diesel generator, will visit individual farms and ranches to slaughter cattle, pigs, goats, buffalo and sheep. Accompanying the vehicle will be two butchers and an inspector with USDA to oversee the slaughtering and cutting processes. Throughput is expected to be 50-80 animals/month.

The unit will allow livestock producers to process meat products cost-effectively and to distribute them locally to hospitals, schools, supermarkets and individuals. After slaughter, stock will be halved and quartered in the unit.

The meats will then be transported to USDA-certified Paso Meat & Sausage Company for further processing and wrapping. The company recently built facilities specially designed to accommodate meat products from the mobile slaughter unit.

Before the arrival of the mobile slaughter house, many animals would be transported over long distances to meat processing facilities at centralized locations for slaughter, cutting and wrapping.

“There is no stress for the animal because it never leaves the ranch,” says Elizabeth Poett, CAAC president and Santa Barbara County rancher.

The purpose-designed slaughter unit was financed by a $137,000 grant from the Agricultural Land Trust in Monterey County, CA.