An Early Concept of Mass Mechanical Slaughter

This is a blueprint from R.Stephen Ayling’s 1908 text Public Abattoirs: Their Planning, Design, and Equipment, (found in Otter's chapter of Lee's 2008 edited volume Meat, Modernity, and the Rise of the Slaughterhouse). 

Otter attributes the plan to Benjamin Ward Richardson, founding member of the Modern Abattoir Society, but Ayling attributes the design to a Bertram Richardson, who was only a member of the MAS. (It’s unclear if Bertram was related to Benjamin.) Ayling says the drawing was made “some years ago,” so we assume it was done sometime in the 1890s. 

Ayling’s book includes many plans for centralized slaughterhouses, including the first large-scale plans for La Villette, the slaughterhouse built by Napoleon III in 1867. None of the plans however include the possibility for mechanical killing, by which we mean a machine-induced process or tool--augmenting the human hand--used to kill a living being. This could be the first concept of mass mechanical slaughter in the West; or, at the very least, a pre-cursor what would eventually become the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).--Text by David Backer