The slaughterhouse is a large-scale building complex where various facilities are housed in the interest of obtaining fresh meat by the slaughter of animals for slaughter to supply butchers and supermarkets with the workable divided products.

Processing and hygiene

Here the meat is expertly cut into its constituent parts and stored for transport. In order to accommodate the carcass home to a slaughterhouse stables, where join battle warehouses, cold rooms and examination rooms of veterinarians. Connected wastewater treatment plants for the resulting body fluids of animals and the so-called Konfiskaträume where, for hygiene reasons or because of diseases unfit meat is stored for short-term disposal are mandatory.


The municipalities and the butchers' guild bear in German-speaking countries private participation the maintenance of slaughterhouses. The trend is always more towards private sector. The veterinary supervision lies with the state or local veterinary offices.


The first industrial slaughterhouses with a simple assembly line production originated around 1845 in Cincinnati. The assembly line production of meat has been perfected, however, in Chicago. Once on behalf of the cattle dealer Gustavus Swift (1839-1903) in 1878, a railroad refrigerator car was produced, which made it possible to sell the butchered meat across the United States, Chicago is developed within a few decades for meat metropolis of America. Within Chicago, there was a short competition to the formation of a cartel of five companies. The contractor Gustavus Swift, Philip Armour, Nelson Morris, George Hammond and Patrick Cudahy (the so -called " Big Five" ) built their slaughterhouses and meat factories along the Union Stockyards. In these plants up to twelve million animals were slaughtered annually. Here, a processing speed of 15 minutes from the slaughter of cattle was up to its decomposition achieved. The "Big Five" dominated quickly the meat market in the USA and soon belonged to the global companies which, based among other things, beef from South America and exported their products to Europe. The automated mass production of slaughterhouses was most exemplary. As a result of the book published by investigative journalist Upton Sinclair, " The Jungle " came the hygienic conditions and working conditions in slaughterhouses to light. Were a result, in 1906 with the " Pure Food and Drug Act " and the " Meat Inspection Act " passed the first effective consumer protection laws of the United States. Developed in the Chicago slaughterhouses processing methods have become established in a developed form worldwide.

What about now?

Since the early 1970s, no longer found in many slaughterhouses in the German-speaking countries a slaughterhouse, in the conventional sense of the term since the bulk of the meat deliveries from abroad took place. Therefore, only hygiene inspections, taxi posts and decompositions required have been made in the rule. As mentioned several freezer rooms were available, which were used to store larger quantities of meat. In addition, presented the authorities responsible for the slaughterhouse veterinarians for meat deliveries from abroad so-called identity findings. It was about the confirmation that the meat was identical in a given truck with that flesh, which was recorded in customs documents or import documents. However, depending on local procedure for that confirmation had the meat can not be discharged from the refrigerated trucks and taken to the slaughterhouse. It was carried out solely on the basis of customs and import documents and on the basis of the driver's documents. Some of the large-scale complexes that over 150 years ensured the meat supply of a region or city in part so that tacked on the edge of economic viability, were restored as a cultural center because of their monuments- age or completely dissolved.

The journal examined Ökotest 2003 76 mark and brand programs of slaughterhouse products and was 39 labels to be very good in terms of a " welfare (s) or environmental ( n ) Animal ". Seven conventional programs were assessed as well.

There were 2011/12 in Germany about 5,100 approved slaughterhouses.

The Federal Government has confirmed in June 2012 that because of the piecework animals suffer unnecessarily due to errors in anesthesia.

Literary processing

The socially critical author Upton Sinclair denounced in his novel " The Jungle " partly human and animal degrading conditions of the early 20th century in the U.S., particularly in the " cooling chamber America ", Chicago, at. These are due to the prevailing monopoly capitalism. Inspired by this, Bertolt Brecht has placed his play Saint Joan of the Stockyards in this milieu.