France’s first mobile abattoir has been such a success since starting in Bourgogne that a second is planned as it is a safe and simple way to prepare meat with less stress for the animal.
The Boeuf Ethique mobile abattoir can be parked in a field, avoiding the need for difficult transport to a slaughterhouse.
Three lorries carry the abattoir, a refrigerated unit for carcasses, and equipment such as barriers, ramps and clothing.
Emilie Jeannin and her brother Brian created Boeuf Ethique on the farm at Beurizot, Côte d’Or, they took over from their parents in 2006.
“Because of the Mad Cow Disease crisis, we began selling direct, which meant offering the very highest quality to be competitive. So we’ve always concentrated on quality, and built a reputation for it.”
She says there is a direct link between the way animals are bred, fed, kept and slaughtered and the meat quality. “Stress at slaughter has a particularly pronounced and very negative effect on the quality of beef.”
They featured in a TV documentary by Franck Ribière on the best steak in France and he filmed their way of farming. He mentioned a mobile abattoir in Sweden and that sparked a trip there and the Boeuf Ethique idea.
Emilie started applying for authorisation and funding. “It was hard because it was the first time anyone in France had proposed the idea, and it’s not cheap. We needed to raise a million euros. In 2020, we posted on Facebook and managed to get investments of €600,000 from the private sector.”
The abattoir arrived in France in August 2021 and has been a success, with sales on the site leboeufethique.fr and delivery by the ‘Chronofresh’ service.
‘We want them to have the best possible quality of life and the least possible stress at the end of it’
“We created 11 jobs and work with around 40 farmers who meet our welfare standards.”
“It’s working well,” says Emilie. “Obviously, it’s better for the animals, and for consumers. We only slaughter five animals a day, so workers are asked to do an excellent job, not a fast one.”
She said they would like to buy a second unit.
“We love animals and we eat them. So we want them to have the best possible quality of life and the least possible stress at the end of it. And we would like to extend that to more animals on more farms.”
Writer Samantha David’s tasting notes: “Being a carnivore with a keen interest in farm animal welfare, I bought stewing steak on the Boeuf Ethique website. Delivery was prompt, the meat arrived chilled, correctly labelled and packed, and I froze it. I have cooked two lots now and both times it was delicious; very tender with no gristle or fat, it didn’t require a long cook at all.”