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RUSH SHIPPEN HUIDEKOPER, Veterinarian (Alfort),
H. D. GILL, V.S.
OFFICE OF PUBLICATION:
LONDON; Bailliére, Tindall & Cox.
It is not necessary to submit to this audience any argument to prove the importance of meat as an article of diet. This is a matter that is so thoroughly understood and universally recognized that it may be accepted as axiomatic that meat is not only essential as food, but that the activity of a people is indicated largely by the amount of flesh consumed. In 1890 the British Government published a table showing the amount of meat used in the different civilized lands. This table supports the statement just made. The amounts consumed per capita and per annum are as follows : Australia 111.6 kg. Belgium and Holland
31.3 kg. United States
54.4 Austria and Hungary 29.0 Great Britain
47.6 Russia Sweden and Norway 39.5 Spain. France
It will be seen that the amount consumed in the United States is greater than in any other part of the world, with the exception of Australia, where meat is so very cheap that only the more desirable portions are used as food, and the actual consumption is less than the figures indicate.
Since flesh enters so largely into our diet, and since it is derived from anjinals that undergo the same disease-processes that we do, and is composed of such fragile compounds that it takes on irritant and toxic properties very quickly, unless handled with the
22.2 " 10.4 “
33.6 “ 31.6 “
1 Read before the Keystone Veterinary Medical Association, November, 1897.
greatest care, it is not surprising to learn that the control of this food has attracted the attention of sanitarians from the earliest times. The first meat-inspection was under the control of ecclesiastical authorities, and in some sects, as the Mohammedans and Jews, it is carried out under the same direction to this day. Such an inspection, when originated, was as careful and thorough as the knowledge of the times would permit, but the regulations under which it is now enforced do not represent the most useful and efficient methods.
In the last century the general public was aroused, and many of the countries of Continental Europe passed laws providing for the inspection of meat, and some municipalities erected abattoirs, where all of the slaughtering of the city should be carried on under competent supervision. More recently, since the bacterial origin of many diseases has been demonstrated and the close relationship of many of the diseases of man and animals has been established, the importance of rational meat-inspection has been greatly emphasized. At this time all of the countries of Continental Europe and the British Isles have a system of meat-inspection, which, although incomplete in some places and in some details, is in the main sufficient to protect the consumer from the numerous maladies that may be contracted by eating the flesh of diseased animals, or meat that has been improperly cared for or preserved.
The system of meat-inspection that has proven most satisfactory in Europe includes the establishment of a municipal abattoir under the direction of a veterinarian trained in meat-inspection, and it is provided that all animals killed locally shall be slaughtered in this establishment. All meat-producing animals are examined while living and after they are killed. Both inspections are made because there are some conditions that cannot well be detected after the animal is slaughtered, but often have an important effect on the quality of the meat, as fever, fatigue, exhaustion, starvation, and excitement. After an animal is slaughtered its organs and
. flesh are examined for evidences of diseases that are directly transmissible to the consumer, parasites that may be injurious, and other conditions which, while not directly transmissible in themselves, render the flesh indigestible or toxic, and thus produce digestive disturbances or more serious disease. The carcass is also examined for the purpose of discovering conditions that render the meat innutritious or offensive, such as chronic wasting diseases, emaciation, old age, immaturity, and advanced pregnancy. Moreover, the method of slaughtering and handling the dressed meat is super
in this way
vised, and it is seen to that all of the steps are carried out in a cleanly manner and that the meat is not unnecessarily contaminated by carelessness and filthy surroundings. The conditions and diseases to be sought for and avoided are so numerous that they cannot be discussed at greater length in this paper.
Germany has more than six hundred slaughter-bouses belonging to municipalities ; each of these is under the direction of a veterinarian. In most of them there are separate halls for slaughtering the different kinds of meat-producing animals : one each for cattle, sheep, and swine. The butchers in these cities pay a reasonable rental, and are permitted to use all the facilities provided and to enjoy the advantages of buildings equipped with all possible laborsaving devices and modern couveniences. Each slaughter-house has a large cold-storage chamber, which can be used by the individual butchers upon the payment of a small fee. the butchers who kill but a few animals a week, and cannot afford to equip satisfactory establishments of their own, receive all of the benefits enjoyed by those who conduct large businesses. Moreover, their meat goes on the market with the official stamp of the inspector showing that it is wholesome. The meat that is condemned is made into fertilizer by the establishment on the account of the individual butcher, and this part of the business is conducted so well that it is usually possible to realize from 20 to 25 per cent of the original cost of the animal. This saving cannot be effected under less favorable conditions.
In this country the existing systems of meat-inspection may be divided into two classes, national and local. For some years the United States Bureau of Animal Industry has conducted a constantly-improving meat-inspection service that now extends to animals killed for export and for interstate trade in the principal meat-packing centres of the country. The work is performed by veterinarians, who examine all carcasses, stamp those that are sound, and condemn those that are unfit for food. There is also
, a microscopical examination of pork for the detection of trichinæ, but this extends only to the products prepared for export. Some of the cities in the United States have also organized more or less complete meat-inspection systems. The system in New Orleans, originated and developed principally by Dr. A. S. Wheeler, is perhaps as perfect as exists anywhere in the United States. It provides that all animals killed locally for food shall be inspected, and the meat is stamped. Moreover, all dressed meat brought into the city must be stamped in a similar way. And it is uolawful for