Last summer, Dan Barber told Gourmet.com about the difficulty he had in finding slaughterhouses that would kill his animals humanely, and expressed some hope that “roving slaughterhouses” would go some way toward solving the problem. As Christine Mulkhe reports in The New York Times Magazine this weekend, the Modular Harvest System may be the solution that Barber and Hudson Valley farmers have been seeking: approved by the USDA in April, it’s one of a very few mobile large-animal abbatoirs in the country, and the first in the Northeast.
Owned by a nonprofit called the Local Infrastructure for Local Agriculture, the MHS is eight feet wide and 53 feet long, and tailor-made for exterminating cows, goats, and sheep. And save for a pipe that drains blood, it looks like your average trailer. With any luck, it will be the first of many, helping to ensure that when livestock are slaughtered, long transport times and assembly-line processing won’t add insult to already grievous injury.