As consumer desire for local, grass-fed meat grows, it’s increasingly difficult for farmers to meet the demand due to a shortage of government-inspected slaughterhouses.
The same expensive USDA regulations that drove many small slaughterhouses out of business also prevent the sale of meat to consumers unless it has been processed in a USDA-inspected facility or under a state inspection program with the exact same standards.
With few slaughterhouses available to farmers, many have to haul their animals for several hours, resulting in increased expenses, higher prices for consumers, and unnecessary stress on the transported animals.
“Custom” slaughterhouses, for which states can set their own inspection standards, do exist, and many farmers already have much closer access to one of these facilities. But current federal law states these facilities may only process meat for the person or persons who owned the animal when the slaughter took place. This means the customer(s) must buy the whole animal while it is still alive – buying a large amount of meat all at one time, without even knowing how much meat they’ll end up with or what their price per pound will be.…