Our Kootenay region is booming with urban transplants trying their hand for the first time at animal husbandry, while often gaining advice from their experienced farming neighbors and elders. Our regions farmers are also currently experiencing an increase in consumers seeking out local and ethically raised meats. Raising animals for meat comes with an abundance of emotions, challenges and rewards. Many people want to eat high quality meat, raised with love, fed naturally and without an array of commercially added antibiotics, hormones or GMO’s. The demand is growing and so is the opportunity for raising animals, yet for most people the hardest part of the process of raising your own meats comes at the end of the animal’s life cycle.
Taking the life of the animals you love can be very challenging and is often fraught with a sense of wanting to do a good job of the task while finding yourself under skilled & under equipped to do so efficiently. Enter the abattoir, a swift and regulated method of processing (most but not all) of your animals. Many farms in our region are located more than 3 hours away from an abattoir and/or find scheduling and multiple trip transport challenging (especially for those new to animal raising, or those with small volumes of animals). In 2015 a new service came to the rescue of Slocan and area farmers: THE KILLBILLIES! Offering Private & Humane, On-Farm Slaughter Service.
The Killbillies are “Slaughter Safe Certified” and well equipped to process anything from Beef to Chickens (including ducks, rabbits and goats which are often harder to find abattoir services for). This dynamic two-man crew offer a caring and convenient option for folks wanting skilled craftsmen to process their animals on the farm they were raised. This service is low- stress for the animals and can save farmers time and money. The Killbillies provide slaughter services only. Farmers need to arrange their own; butchery and transport of the carcasses to a local cut & wrap shop. Plucked and eviscerated poultry needs to be cooled, bagged and frozen by the farmer.
People who have accessed the Killbillies services find the experience night and day from their own attempts to process animals. The guys are fast, really fast! They are clean and precise… which is exactly what you want for your animals and the quality meat you have invested so much energy raising. Processing fees are per animal and prices by the species ranging from $5 – $100 per head. Travel cost apply to farms outside the Slocan Valley. Booking lead times require 1- 3 weeks (seasonally dependent).
The fine print; While the Killbillies are Slaughter Safe Certified, and you can have your meat butchered at an Inspected and Regulated Cut & Wrap shop, without a Class E license you cannot sell your homegrown meat to the public, as you could if you use an abattoir service. The Killbillies are private contractors who do the dirty work for you, the farmer, which is above board and legal, however as a farmer you need to understand the federal & provincial regulations around selling meat.
* This article was originally published, in the fall issue of Kootenay Food, sign up today and stay connected to your foodshed!