New Extension resource focuses on processing meat animals at home

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Extension Service has a new resource to provide credible information for people who want to butcher and process meat animals at home.

The new curated collection on the OSU Extension website runs the gamut for processing meat at home, from purchasing and slaughtering to storing and cooking.

Disruptions in the cattle, sheep, and swine markets, particularly in the slaughter-packer sector, have threatened the availability of meat and put pressure on prices at the supermarket and at the livestock producer level.

“This has caused us to rethink the way we produce and process food, and some are considering backyard slaughter of livestock,” said Shelby Filley, professor and Extension regional livestock and forages specialist in Douglas County. “In Extension, we realized we needed to provide reliable, science-based information to people who want to process their own meat animals at home.”

Many important steps need to be taken prior to and after the actual slaughter of any meat animal, and they are necessary for welfare, safety, and meat quality.

“We want people to make sure everyone understands that process,” Filley said.

The topics covered in the collection include:

In the spring, OSU Extension started fielding questions from people who were interested in butchering animals at home, such as hogs and chickens.

“These are home consumers who, rather than going to the grocery store and purchasing meat, thought they could buy a live animal and process it themselves. They need credible information to safely hold those animals, slaughter them and process the meat,” Filley said.

The collection also includes basic rules and laws of selling meat and sharing meat with those outside of your household. There are also links to websites with information for processing facilities, handling animals and humane slaughter, and contact information for the main livestock associations in Oregon (cattle, sheep, goat, pork) and on poultry and rabbit.

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