BROOKSVILLE, Maine — Rob Cushman believes there is a better way to kill farm animals than to load them in a truck and drive the anxious pigs, steers, goats and sheep to the nearest slaughterhouse, which in Maine can often be hours away.
That’s why he and Jake Hearst, both of Brooksville, have decided to turn their shared belief into a business. Blue Hill Itinerant Slaughter — known by many in the Blue Hill Peninsula as “A Kinder Kill” — is a mobile slaughterhouse that travels around the area to dispatch animals on the farms where they have been raised. While there are many such facilities in Europe and some in other parts of the country, they have not yet caught on in Maine. That is a shame, Cushman said.
In Maine, the bigger picture could definitely include more mobile slaughterhouses that would help farmers and homesteaders with the necessary and sometimes difficult task of killing their meat animals, according to Cushman and other local food supply activists. Under the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s on-farm slaughter exemption, Blue Hill Itinerant Slaughter is allowed only to kill animals for the personal use of the farmer or homesteader that hired them. They are not allowed to butcher the animals, Cushman said, adding that the most they can legally do is quarter and chill the animal.
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