Cattle Processing at SUNY Cobleskill

Students learn how to slaughter cattle.

Although it was difficult to watch, we filmed the slaughter of cattle today. We got quite an education listening to Eric Shelley explain each step of the process. Such care was taken to assure the humane treatment of the cattle and the safety of the students.

The atmosphere were very, very somber as an animal would come into the “knock box” to be stunned with a captive bolt pistol. This rendered it unconscious so it could not feel the pain of being hoisted onto the bleed rail to be bled out. Students took turns learning how to operate the stunning equipment.

Afterwards, the animal would be placed on a work surface so that it could be skinned.  Eric very patiently taught each student how to properly work with the knives and to know how to keep the exposed areas free from contamination by the hide. Seeing this cow go from live animal to carcass helped me to understand and respect the procedure of how meat can be processed humanely.

One of the most dangerous aspects of working in a slaughterhouse is using the powerful saws. This one is able to cut a cow carcass in half.  Due to the unwieldy nature of this saw, Eric stayed by the side of any student operating it and assured that they did it correctly.