We are fiercely committed to the well-being of our animals, as well as the quality of the meats and poultry we provide our customers. We honor that commitment by treating our animals with dignity and respect from the day they are born throughout their lives, including the day they are slaughtered.
We are one of the only farms in the United States that have both red meat and poultry abattoirs on our farm. The uniqueness of these two enormous investments demonstrates White Oak Pastures' commitment to regenerative agriculture. We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.
Our processing abattoirs were designed by Dr. Temple Grandin, the internationally recognized authority on humane animal handling and slaughter. She is a doctor of Animal Science and champion of animal welfare. Our facilities are designed to keep our animals as calm as possible. The animals are held in open pens until they are dispatched. The captive bolt is administered by a trained employee and renders the animal senseless to prevent suffering. This procedure is performed by hand, one at the time and the process is taken very seriously.
We only slaughter 30-35 head of cattle per day. An industrial processing plant may slaughter over 6,000 cattle per day. All of our poultry is slaughtered with an electrical stun knife. We process about 3,000 chickens per week. An industrial processing plant can slaughter up to 200,000 chickens per day. Our plants are not efficient, they are humane. This process does cost more to operate, but we believe our customers wouldn’t have it any other way.
Both of our abattoirs are zero-waste operations. All blood is digested to make liquid organic fertilizer, all bones are ground to make bone meal, and all viscera is composted. All of these organic fertilizers are used as soil amendments for our Certified Organic pastures. Hides are either turned into leather items or dehydrated for pet chews. Fat is rendered to make soaps, candles, and lotions.
We have our own water treatment system to turn the wash down water into irrigation water for our pastures. In nature, there is no waste. We endeavor to operate our abattoirs the same way.
Behind our processing abattoirs is a 50,000-watt solar voltaic array, which helps supply some of the power we use each day.
The well-being of our workers is a major priority for us, as well. White Oak Pastures employees work on non-mechanized lines, which is safer and healthier than the rushed, automated assembly lines of high-volume slaughterhouses. The workers on both the kill floor and in the cutting room are artisans trained in several skills. Our employees also have the opportunity to work in other departments on the farm to give them more exposure to the vertically integrated production system at White Oak Pastures.