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Abattoir

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ABATTOIR, the name given by the French to the public slaughter-houses which were established in Paris by a de cree of Napoleon in 1810, and finished in 1818. There are three on the north, and two on the south side of Paris, not far from the barriers, and about two miles from the centre of the city. The cattle markets for the supply of Paris are several miles distant, and the cattle are driven from them round the exterior boulevards to the abattoirs, and conse quently do not enter the city. The con sumption of Paris in 1840 was 92,402 oxen, 437,359 sheep, 90,190 pigs, and 20,684 calves: the number of butchers, all of whom are required to take out a licence, does not mach exceed five hundred. At one of the abattoirs each butcher has his slaughter-house, a place for keeping tne meat, an iron rack for tallow, pans for it, and a place with convenience for giving cattle hay and water, and where they may be kept before being slaughtered. A fixed sum is charged for this accommodation, and in 1843 the fee was 6 francs for each ox, 4 fr. for a cow, 2 fr. for a calf, and 10 c. for a sheep. The income of the esta blishment, arising from these fees, the sale of manure, &c., was above 48,0001. in 1842. It is stated in Dulaure's Paris,' that the fee paid for each head of cattle includes all the expenses of slaughtering ; but a witness who was examined before a Parliamentary Committee on Smithfield Market, and who had visited Paris for the purpose of inspecting the abattoirs, says that the butchers employ their own men. Dulaure's account is probably correct. The butchers can have their cattle slaughtered at any hour of the night, but they must take away the meat at night. There is an inspector appointed at each abattoir, and means are taken to prevent unwholesome meat getting into consumption. There are slaughter-houses under public regu lations in most of the continental cities ; and those of New York and Philadelphia and some other of the cities of the Ame rican Union are, it is said, placed on a similar footing. The medical profession in France attach great importance to slaughter-houses being strictly regulated, and removed from the midst of the popu lation.

The great cattle-market in Smithfield for the supply of London existed above five centuries ago, but the spot was at that time a piece of waste ground beyond the city, instead of being, as at present, surrounded by a dense population. In 1842 there were sold in Smithfield Mar ket 175,347 cattle, and 1,468,960 sheep, and at least this number are annually slaughtered within the limits of the me tropolis. There are slaughtermen who kill for other butchers frequently above a hundred head of cattle, and perhaps five or six hundred sheep every week ; many butchers kill for themselves to a consider able extent; and there are few who have not accommodation for slaughtering and dressing a few sheep, either in the cellar underneath their shop, or in the rear of their premises. The business of slaugh

tering cattle and sheep in London is con ducted just in the way most convenient to the butcher, without reference to the convenience and comfort of the public. There are siaughter-houses for sheep within fifty yards of St. Paul's Church yard, and within a hundred and fifty yards of Ludgate-street, one of the great thoroughfares of London. The fear of creating a nuisance, cognisable as such by the law, is in some measure a substitute for the vigilant inspectorship maintained in the public slaughter-houses ou the con tinent; and those who slaughter cattle know that in proportion as their esta blishments are cleanly and well venti lated, it is easier to keep the meat in a proper state ; but the ignorant, the care less, and those who cannot afford to im prove the accommodation and conveni ence of their slaughter-houses, require to be placed under the restraint of positive regulations. A general police regulation on the subject is thought to be necessary by many persons. In the Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Smithfield Market, to which allusion has already been made, the question of establishing abattoirs in London is noticed. The butchers objected to them on account of the expenses to which they would be put by having to carry the meat to their shops ; and they alleged also that the meat would not keep so well in conse quence of being removed so soon after being killed. These objections apply in some degree to the present system, under which the great slaughtermen kill for the butchers of a certain district, though the district is certi.inly much smaller than would be attached to one of several abattoirs.

By 4 & 5 Henry VII. c. 3, butchers were prohibited from killing cattle within the walls of the city of Loudon, on ac count of "the annoyance of corrupt airs engendered by occasion of blood and other foul things coming by means of 'laughter of beasts and scalding of sw ine." In this act was partially repealed by 24 Hen. VIII. c. 16, the preamble of which recited that since the act 4 & 5 Hen. VII. the butchers of London had made drains to carry off the filth from their slaughter-houses, and had adopted regulations for avoiding nuisances under the advice of the corporation of the city ; and they also alleged that the cost of carrying and re-carrying meat made it dear. It was then enacted that the act aforesaid should not extend to butchers within the city, who may kill within the walls.