Time for holiday beef

Agriculture Dept. abattoir services available

The Christmas season in the Cayman Islands is not complete without a dish featuring local meat. To that end, the Department of Agriculture is making it easier to obtain delicacies like Christmas beef.

Department officials are advising the public that it is offering abattoir (i.e. slaughterhouse) services this month. The department can pick up livestock, slaughter them and deliver meat at no charge.

Assistant Director of Agriculture Brian Crichlow said the service is nothing new to Cayman.

“It has been around a couple years well,” Mr. Crichlow said. “The service is actually offered all year round, every weekend. The way it works remain the same. You call in and make arrangements, such as setting a day for the slaughtering and the delivery day for the meat. You also have to ensure the animal is delivered or picked up 12-24 hours before slaughter so that it can rest (in the abattoir holding pen) beforehand. All of that is fully free and comes at no cost to the farmer.

“The Department of Agriculture provides the local farmer with a full range of services, and the abattoir is just one of them. The purpose of putting this information out now is to remind farmers of an option available to them.”

The department has a number of deadlines in place for the abattoir service. The last day for livestock pickup is Wednesday, 22 December. The cut-off date for slaughtering is Thursday, 23 December, and the delivery deadline is Friday, 24 December.

Prior to slaughtering, the department will need: a name, telephone number, type and number of livestock requested for slaughter, the preferred date of slaughter and the preferred date and location for delivery of the carcass/meat.

Mr. Crichlow said that while the service is not offered in the Sister Islands, it is a beneficial service for residents of Grand Cayman at a time when slaughtering on island is usually high.

“At present there is no government abattoir service offered on Cayman Brac or the Sister Islands. It is something being looked at over there. However, there are private individuals who have been slaughtering meat on Cayman Brac.

“As you know, slaughtering increases dramatically in the Christmas season for traditional meats like (Christmas) beef, goat and pork. We all get forgetful and leave things for the last minute, and we at the department are simply reminding people to get their livestock in now and not to wait. There is a daily limit to the amount of animals that can be slaughtered, so call in and make your bookings now.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the management and staff at the department, a Merry Christmas to all and a productive 2011.”

To arrange for slaughter services, call 947-3090. The public is reminded that the fifth quarter (such as the head, feet and liver) must be picked up on the day of slaughter.

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