Open-air slaughterhouse

Can farm pastures provide an alternative to the slaughterhouse for Swiss cows? One farmer in canton Zurich is experimenting. (SRF/

This content was published on June 10, 2015

Nils Müller, an organic farmer in canton Zurich, is testing whether cows can be slaughtered directly on his property, rather than in the abattoir, or slaughterhouse.

Right now it’s illegal for farmers in Switzerland to carry out the slaughter. That’s why Müller, working with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, or FiBL, had to obtain special permission to carry out the experiment from the Cantonal Veterinary Office of Zurich.

Müller uses a rifle at close range. He shoots from a high seat he specially built. Then he has to quickly drain blood from the cow’s carcass to meet food and safety regulations.
His approach is meant to reduce the stress that the cows experience when they are separated from the her and transported to the slaughterhouse. But offering more humane treatment isn’t the only goal. Another aim is to improve the quality of the butchered beef.

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