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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 216 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ISOLATION BUILDIN RTER RmmKU ROOK The average cost of slaughter-houses in Germany is given by Osthoff, of Berlin (Handbuch der Hygiene), as 7 to 8 marks per inhabitant if no cold chamber is provided, and from Io to 12 marks per inhabitant if there is a cold chamber, or, in more detail, as follows: Cost of Slaughter-house per Inhabitant, in Marks. Number of Inhabitants. Without Cold With Cold Chamber. Chamber. 5,000– 6,000 8 12 6,000– 8,000 7 10 8,000-15,000 6 9 15,000—20,000 7 7o Over 20,000 8 Io Slaughter-houses in Germany pay their own expenses, the fees received for the use of the slaughter-house, and for examination of meat and stamping after examination, providing a sufficient sum for this purpose. The fees vary in different places. From the works of Osthoff and Schwarz it would appear that these fees average about one pfennig per kilogramme of the living animal, or about half a farthing per lb of meat. The corporation of the city of London have erected a slaughter-house at their cattle market in Islington in which slaughtering is done in a large hall divided by partitions into separate compartments. The compartments are not let to separate butchers but are used in common. The partitions do not extend to the ceiling, but are sufficiently high to prevent the slaughtering in one compartment being seen by the occupants of other compartments, and thus they necessarily provide less opportunity for inspection than is afforded by the open-slaughtering halls of Germany. The fees charged are Is. 6d. per head for bullocks, 4d. for calves, 2d. for sheep, and 6d. per head for pigs. The accotmodation is estimated as sufficient for the slaughter of 400 cattle, 1200 sheep, and 1200 calves and pigs Der day. The centralization of the slaughtering and packing industries in the United States has not required slaughter-houses on the same plan as in Europe. Acts of Congress of 189o, 1891 and1895 endeavoured to provide some amount of inspection, but sufficient appropriations were never made to carry it out, and there were also certain loopholes in the legislation. Although there were from time to time frequent cases of sickness directly traceable to the consumption of canned meats from the great packing centres, it was not until the publication of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), which dealt with the conditions in the Chicago packing yards, that steps were taken adequately to guard the public against insanitary conditions. A commission of inquiry was appointed by President Roosevelt, and as a result of its report there was passed in 1906 a national meat inspection law. This act required the department of agriculture to appoint inspectors to examine and inspect all cattle, sheep, swine and goats before being allowed to enter into any slaughtering, packing, meat-canning, rendering or similar establishments. All such animals found to show any symptoms of disease must be set apart and slaughtered separately. All carcases must be inspected and labelled as either " inspected and passed " or " inspected and condemned." The act also provides for the inspection (and condemnation if necessary) of all meat food products as well as for the sanitary examination of all slaughtering, packing and canning establishments. Inspection and examination is now carried out very carefully at all stages of the industry, from inspection of the animals before they enter the slaughtering establishments up to the finished product. The important feature of the Chicago and certain other western American cities slaughter-houses is their adaptation for rapidly dealing with the animals which they receive. At the Chicago slaughter-houses the cattle to be slaughtered are driven up a winding viaduct, by which, in certain of the houses, they eventually reach the roof. Each animal now passes into a narrow pen, where it is at once stunned by a blow on the head. It then falls through a trap-door in the pen into an immense slaughtering-room, where the hind legs are secured, and the animal hoisted by a wire rope suspended from a trolley-line. A knife is then plunged into its throat and the carcase made to travel along the line. The carcase is next lowered to the floor, the hide taken off, the head and feet cut off, and the internal parts removed. The carcase again travels along the trolley-line to a place where it is divided into halves, which then, after washing, travel to the refrigeration-room, being trimmed while on the way. The extent of the business may be judged by the fact that over 400 cattle are killed per hour in the slaughtering-room. The cooling-rooms are so large that 13,000 halves of beef hang there at one time. The method of dealing with sheep is very similar. The animals are driven into narrow alleys,.then into the slaughter-room, where their throats are cut. They next travel along a route where their skins and the internal organs are removed, and finally pass into the cooling-rooms. Swine are raised in the slaughter-room on to the trolley-line by a chain attached to the animals' feet and to a solid disk or wheel, which in revolving carries them until a mechanical contrivance throws the chain upon the trolley-line, where a knife is plunged into their throat. In its subsequent passage the carcase is scalded, scraped by a machine through which it passes, later decapitated, the internal parts removed, and the interior washed. The carcase then travels to the cooling-room. In 1904 a British departmental (Admiralty) committee on the humane slaughtering of animals recommended that all animals should he stunned before being bled, and, with a view to sparing animals awaiting slaughter the sights and smells of the slaughter-house, that " cattle should, when possible, be slaughtered screened off from their fellows. This can be arranged in moderate-sized abattoirs by dividing up the side of the slaughter-chamber opposite to the entrance doors into stalls somewhat similar to those in a stable, but considerably wider. For quiet home-grown cattle a width of to ft. is sufficient, but where wilder cattle have to be killed a wider space is probably desirable. It is important that these stalls should be so arranged as not to screen the operations of slaughter from the view of the inspecting officials. Immediately after the carcases have been bled, they should be moved on to and ' dressed ' in an adjoining room, screened off from the view of animals entering the slaughter-chamber. This is easily accomplished by hitching a rope (from the winch, if necessary) round the head or forelegs of the carcase, and by dragging it along the floor for the short distance into the ' dressing room. The slaughter-stall should then at once be flushed down with the hose, so as to remove all traces of blood. This method leaves the slaughter spaces clear for the next, batch of animals, whereas under the existing system there is either a loss of time through the slaughter spaces being blocked up with dressing operations, or else the next batch of animals on being brought into the slaughter-chamber are confronted with mutilated and disembowelled carcases." The provision of public slaughter-houses enables control to be exercised over the methods of slaughtering. The above-mentioned committee state that they practically tested a large number of appliances designed for felling and stunning animals previous to " pithing," among which they mention the Bruneau and Baxter masks, the Greener patent killer, the Blitz instrument, and the Wackett punch, all of which are suitable for quiet cattle or horses. In view of the difficulty of adjusting these instruments in the case of wild or restive animals, the committee express the opinion that the poll-axe when used by an expert is on the whole the most satisfactory implement, but they recommend that no man should be permitted to use the poll-axe on a living animal until he has gone through a thorough course of training, firstly upon a dummy animal and secondly upon dead bodies. Calves, the committee state, should be stunned by a blow on the head with a club. With respect to the method of slaughter of sheep the committee discuss the method usually adopted in England, which is " to lay the sheep on a wooden crutch and then to thrust a knife through the neck below the ears, and with a second motion to insert the point, from within, between the joints of the vertebrae, thus severing the spinal cord." Observations made for the committee by Professor Starling showed that the interval between the first thrust of the knife and complete loss of sensibility varied from five to thirty seconds, and they there-fore recommended that sheep should be stunned before being stuck, a practice required in Denmark, many parts of Germany, and Switzerland. It is necessary that the sheep should be struck on the top of the head between the ears and not on the forehead. The insensibility produced by the blow was found to last fully twenty seconds, a period sufficiently long for the killing to be completed if the animal is laid on the crutch before being stunned. The stunning of pigs, the committee recommended, should be insisted upon in all cases, and not, as sometimes at present, only practised in the case of large pigs which give trouble or with a view to the avoidance of noise. The Jewish method of slaughter by cutting the throat is condemned by the committee after careful observation and after receiving reports by Sir Michael Foster and Professor Starling, the chief objection to this method being that it fails in the primary requirements of rapidity, freedom from unnecessary pain, and instantaneous loss of sensibility. The use of public slaughter-houses has not been found to affect the prices of meat, although one of the numerous arguments used by butchers against being required to slaughter in public slaughter-houses was that they would have this effect. Inquiry on thissubject by a Swedish veterinary surgeon of Stockholm, Kjerrulf, of 56o towns possessing public slaughter-houses, elicited replies from 388. Of these, 261 towns declared that as a result of the compulsory use of the abattoirs and compulsory meat inspection the price of meat had not been raised. In the case of twenty-two towns prices rose temporarily but soon reverted to their normal level. In many cases it was alleged that the temporary rise was due, not to the abattoir, but to other causes, notably the scarcity of live stock (Our Slaughter-house System by C. Cash, and The German Abattoir by Hugo Heiss, 1907). The increasing recognition in European countries of the need for inspection, at the time of slaughter, of the flesh of all cattle intended to suppy food for man, the necessity for the provision of public slaughter-houses to make such inspection practicable, the convenience which these slaughter-houses afford to those engaged in the business of butcher, combine to ensure that, at any rate in all populous places, they will in time entirely supersede private slaughter-houses, which offer none of these advantages. No doubt the provision of public slaughter-houses will continue to be opposed by the butchers' trade so long as private slaughter houses are permitted, and, as already stated, local authorities in England are discouraged from making public provision by their inability to prevent the continuance of the use of all existing private slaughter-houses. Probably the extension to English local authorities of the power which the law of Scotland gives to the commissioners of Scottish burghs of closing private slaughter-houses when a public slaughter-house has been provided, would facilitate the much-needed substitution of public for private slaughter-houses. (S. F. M.)
End of Article: ISOLATION

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