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Abattoir

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ABATTOIR (Fr.), ab-at-war, a slaughter house; sometimes extended to include a great market of which the abattoir proper is only a part. The nuisance of blood, offal, etc., in crowded settlements, early forced ancient civil ized governments to put the slaughter of the animals under restrictions. Our first definite information on this point is the system under the Roman empire: the slaughter-houses in stead of being scattered about the streets were collected in one quarter, forming the public market, which in Nero's time was one of the most imposing structures in Rome. The system was introduced into Gaul, but the meat supply of Paris was in the hands of a clique of aristo cratic families who balked all attempts at re form; and though as far back as 1567 Charles IX had issued a decree on the subject, no improvement was made till Napoleon's time, when the nuisance was shocking,— slaughter houses abutted on the principal thoroughfares, herds of footsore and lamenting beasts im peded traffic, the gutters ran with blood, offal poisoned the air, and the Seine was a sewer for it. A commission was appointed to rectify these conditions in 1810, and the five great abattoirs which still exist were formally opened 15 Sept. 1818. They have been the models of the world, and for many years had no rivals; indeed, for symmetry of arrangement they have never been surpassed. But of late the vast American establishments at Chicago, at Kansas City, St. Louis, Mo., Brighton, Mass., and other places, have carried speed, economy, and cleanliness to an ideal point, and American inventiveness has built up an incredible number of subsidiary industries and products, so that literally not a hair of an animal's body nor a drop of its blood is wasted: foods, medicines, chemicals, ma nures, building-materials, etc., produced from the refuse of the slaughter-houses are past numbering. The improved systems of the United States are of recent development and are due to the investigations of the methods followed in abattoirs in preparing meats and canned goods. These investigations revealed unsanitary conditions, and unwholesome and unhealthy practices. On 30 June 1906 Congress provided for the inspection of all meats destined for interstate or foreign trade and of all establishments engaged in the industry, and appropriated $3,000,000 per annum for the maintenance of this supervision. Federal in

spection is now conducted in about 1,000 estab lishments located in 275 cities and towns. It reaches about 60 per cent of the total meat supply of the country, the remaining 40 per cent being under the supervision of State and local officers. In modern abattoirs great skill and speed are attained in the slaughtering and dressing of animals. The cattle are driven up to pens on a killing floor and are stunned by being struck between the eyes with a sledge hammer. The animal is then shackled, placed on the killing bed, and hoisted on a suspended tramway, and bled. It is next moved on to the who skins and removes the head. The animal is then lowered and skinned, and passes through a• row of butchers, each of whom performs some operation in trimming the dressed carcass. It is then shifted along to the cooling room and its place is at once taken by the next carcass on the run. By means of this specialization and division of labor a constant run is maintained, a force of less than 200 workers kill, dress and trim about 2,000 car casses in a day of 10 hours. During the slaughtering, the carcasses are inspected by Federal meat inspectors, examining with care the viscera for indications of disease, or if animals are emaciated or in any way unsound the carcass is marked °U. S. Inspected and Condemned" and is turned into fertilizer. For hogs the process is different but the same sub division and specialization of labor obtain; scalding vats and scraping machinery are added, and the carcasses are examined during the proc ess as in the case of beef carcasses. The largest abattoirs in the United States, and in the world, are located at Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, and Cincinnati. The Chicago Union Stock Yards is the largest concern of its kind in the world, covering an area of about 500 acres, and having an invested capital of about $70,000,000. About 8,000,000 hogs, 2,500, 000 cattle, and 6,000,000 sheep are received and slaughtered annually. (See MEAT; PACKING Tr/minim) Consult Macewen,