In Maine, slaughterhouses can be hours away from the farms. Loading up the livestock to be slaughtered and driving them that far can be time-consuming and difficult at best. As a solution, Rob Cushman and Jake Hearst have started Blue Hill Itinerant Slaughter, a mobile slaughterhouse that travels to Maine farms.
“Animals are much more afraid of being separated from the herd than they are of guns and knives,” Cushman told Bangor Daily News. “I think that done well, it is a very fulfilling practice. I think we need to get a lot closer to death in our culture. For me, when we do it respectfully and effectively, I find it empowering—as if we’ve helped the larger picture.”
Blue Hill Itinerant Slaughter could lead to additional mobile slaughterhouses in the state. Bangor Daily News reports that according to law, the company can only kill animals that the farmer plans on personally using. Blue Hill cannot butcher the animals. They are legally only allowed to quarter and chill them.
Many farmers feel Cushman’s business is good for them.
“Rob has been doing local slaughter around here and has done our steers for us the last couple of years,” farmer Clifton Page told Bangor Daily News. “He’s great. But he doesn’t have all the facilities. We can’t sell the meat he’s slaughtered to anybody. The idea is to help local farms and also to encourage more people to raise large meat animals that they can then sell. It’ll provide a local source of high-quality, pasture-raised meat. It could change Maine agriculture overnight, if we could get this going.”
The public is invited to an open discussion of a “cooperative mobile slaughter and butchering facility.” The discussion will take place on November 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Blue Hill Wineshop. The address is 138 Main Street in Blue Hill. Blue Hill Itinerant Slaughter can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.