France powers up Sweden’s mobile abattoir

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

The mobile abattoir is capable of slaughtering around 150 cows per week
The mobile abattoir is capable of slaughtering around 150 cows per week

Related tags Meat France Sweden Beef Processing and packaging Innovation

Rising demand for ethical and traceable protein has seen Sweden’s Hälsingestintan roll out its innovative mobile slaughter unit in France, heralding a new wave of meat production.

Swedish firm Hälsingestintan has entered into a long-term partnership with France’s SAS Boeuf Ethique to introduce its mobile abattoir concept in France during 2017. The ethical concept for meat production marks the next step in Sweden’s advanced animal care model, with France becoming the first country outside Sweden to adopt the concept.

Hälsingestintan’s mobile abattoir, launched in Sweden in December 2014, comprises two carriages containing an office, changing rooms, stun platform, slaughterhouse and a cold storage unit.

Out with the old...

Instead of transporting cows to an abattoir, Hälsingestintan brings the mobile slaughtering unit to the farm. This avoids transportation-inflicted stress on livestock and improves welfare as cattle are slaughtered in their home environment, according to Britt-Marie Stegs, CEO of Hälsingestintan.

There is a big market for the new way of meat production,​” Stegs told GlobalMeatNews.

“The world currently has a lot of problems with meat products: with the environment, with the way we treat farmers, with the way we treat animals. The slaughter system cuts the chain between the farmer and the consumer and this is not good for a sustainable meat industry.​”

... In with the new

Stegs’ mobile abattoir was purpose-built in Finland and, whilst a micro unit, it has all the bells and whistles needed to slaughter hundreds of animals per month. It has an on-site water purification system, sustainable power sources and separate disposal units for skin and waste. A state-appointed vet is also present at each slaughtering to ensure government-set standards are met. Crucially, it has a digital traceability chain to provide consumers and buyers with all the information about the animal and its farm.

Franck Ribière, producer of hit documentary Steak (R)evolution, has helped facilitate the partnership that will see SAS Boeuf Ethique buy knowledge of mobile slaughter techniques from Hälsingestintan.

We are absolutely convinced that this concept is ideal for the French market,​” said Ribière in a statement. “I have spent many years travelling the world on a quest for the perfect meat, and have long wanted to improve animal welfare. We are giving French consumers a good reason to carry on eating meat, produced in a sustainable, ethical way.​”

Hälsingestintan said it hoped the initiative in France would open the gateways for more European companies to adopt the mobile slaughter system and move to a more transparent production system.

We regard this [partnership with SAS Boeuf Ethique] as an excellent first step for us in establishing our concept on more new markets,​” said Henrik Viken, deputy managing director of Hälsingestintan’s international business.
However, the key to the long-term success of the newfangled system will depend on one thing: profitability. “Yes, we have to prove that its profitable for the whole meat industry,​” added Stegs.

She added that she was “delighted​” to see her concept make an impact outside Sweden.

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