Cattle · Country life

The abattoir…

Today I dealt with rats as big as rabbits, mice and a trip to the abattoir, and all before 6.30am.

It all started at 5am, not a time that particularly agrees with me.

Cattle shed shadows at 5am…

I hate getting up at that time. Normally early starts signal a holiday but today it was a very different story.

By 6.15am we needed to be at the abattoir, two Highland cows in tow.

Being fairly new to this game, I’d never been before.

I could have ducked out of the trip, however I thought – if I’m going to raise cattle and eat the beef then I need to be able to do the not-so-nice parts of the job too – so I went.

The loading at this end was simple as we’d put the two steers in a separate pen overnight.

loading up…

The journey was pretty straight forward, although I was pretty apprensive, for the sole reason that I’d never been through the experience before and my mind was racing about what was to come.

The arrival at the abattoir was quiet, understated and calm. It felt ok compared to my expectation.

At the abattoir…

The beasts were unloaded and casually walked into the lairage (holding pen).

We handled the paperwork and hosed down the cattle trailer.

I’d be lying if I said the experience was easy – it wasn’t.

But actually the atmosphere at the abattoir was calm which meant the beasts were calm – and this made the whole process more bearable.

I might sound oversentimental, but these gloriously handsome beasts have been a part of the farm for many years so as I write this tonight, of course the absence of Hamish and Benacre is present. It all feels much smaller and much quieter, but this is all part of the nature of change here on the farm and I know what a glorious life they had – and that is surely doing justice to such a wonderful beast.


(p.s the mice and rats were tackled in the barn during the move).

2 thoughts on “The abattoir…

  1. It’s the inevitable trip to the abattoir that put an end to any discussion about animals and a small holding in this house. We’re a family that deliberately only shoots enough to fill a freezer and no more but for some reason I have a mental block when it comes to the idea of taking animals I’ve nurtured off to the abattoir. Silly I know and something I’m going to have to get over. Your blog was reassuring and the respect you have for Hamish and Benacre and the importance of a good life for an animal from beginning to end shines through.

  2. Thank you Jen, that means a lot. I felt exactly the same, I was on edge for days leading up to it. However when the time came, it honestly was much more stress-free than I had imagined. A lot of that had to do with the abattoir and its calmness. I’m sure it may get easier, but when you’ve chatted to the cows every day for years, they sort of become part of the farm and tonight they are certainly missed.

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