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TAS Country : March 10th 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011 Tasmanian Country 11 News of all flesh Why Not Get SmartTSi! WHY WEIGHT? M On Behalf of Gallagher Australia c0000023099C a25241650003834a 34099000322c $1,000 T A Gallagher SmartTSi Purchaser T T E DE One Thousand Dollars an f Gallagher $1000 Trade In for your old EID weigh scale* Visit www.gallagher.com.au for details. *Terms and conditions apply. MUCH APPRECIATED: David and Rita Stephens. Picture: JENNIFER CRAWLEY Nicely aged and ready for market CRADOC Hill abattoir owners David and Rita Stephens are ready to retire and are hoping someone will take over the business. ''There's a huge need for local farmers and people who want one or two beasts a year and maybe a lamb killed,'' Rita said. ''If there wasn't one here it would leave a huge hole in the community.'' Customers make the trip up the wind- ing gravel road to the top of the hill for the slaughtering service and to buy blood and bone that is used by vineyards, nurseries and gardeners throughout the state. David was a pig farmer at Grove but was not happy about how the pigs were presented to butchers. ''David bought the abattoir so he could dress his own pigs,'' Rita said. He worked with the Department of Primary Industries to build a small but functional abattoir in 1995. Word spread quickly about the slaugh- terhouse and farmers from Richmond, Sorell, Dover and Bruny Island took their livestock to Cradoc. They are licensed to do sheep, buffalo, deer, rabbits, goats and pigs. The Stephens, in their late 50s, say the decision to sell is based on their age. ''It is hard work,'' Rita said. ''David needs a shoulder reconstruction and he's been putting it off. ''And I want to spend more time at home looking after my Dad and Mum. David said he feels good about the decision to sell. ''It's just like that line from Big Brother, you know, 'it's time to go','' he said. ''It's getting too hard. I'd like to get back outside.'' Rita does the bookwork, deliveries and administration, and David does the slaughtering and makes the highly prized blood and bone. Intestines and carcasses decompose in three large pits filled with sawdust. The end result is a rich, dark and crumbly mulch. Orchards, nurseries and vineyards are big customers of the by-product. ''It is just the most amazing product,'' Rita said. It took Rita six months to get used to working in the abattoir, she said. ''I used to work in a bank and David said come with me, I need you,'' she said. ''I found it hard to begin with. I'm not a farm person, but I enjoyed the people, the farmers. I got to know them because of what we were doing.'' The Stephens have put four children through college and university and the family have all worked in the business. One daughter, who was fascinated with the workings of the animals internal organs, has become a nurse. ''Nothing fazes her. She's worked in theatre and now she works in the burns unit -- she can detach herself,'' Rita said. IT'S CARCASE: Oatlands slaughterhouse owner Brian Fish closing his small meatworks. Picture: KIM EISZELE SHEEP farmer and bullock driver Brian Fish has closed his Midlands slaughterhouse Mungala. His last big kill was just before Christmas. Mr Fish and wife his Lyn want to do other things and slaughtermen are hard to find, he said. Mr Fish built the slaughterhouse to tide the family and their 890ha property through falling wool prices and drought. A refrigerated truck full of meat travelled twice a week to Hobart and farmers from as far away as Mangalore, Geeveston and Sorrel brought their livestock to Mungala. The slaughterhouse killed as many as 500 sheep, 20 cattle, 40 deer and a dozen pigs a week. There was enough work for two slaughtermen to work full-time. Mr Fish, 64, said he has been talking to other small abattoir owners who say they are in the same boat, closing down because they cannot get slaughtermen. ''You grew up watching your dad kill a sheep,'' he said. ''Where it's going to go, who's going to do it, I don't know. ''I don't reckon there's hardly a sheep killed in the district now.'' The Oatlands butcher who sourced his meat from Mr Fish has moved to Triabunna. The family had a small kill of mutton and lambs for the first time this year last Thursday. Mr Fish sad it was sad to see the licensed well-kept abattoir closed down. ''We'd love to see someone take it over,'' he said. ''There's plenty of work, it's a shame to see it just stop.''
March 3rd 2011
March 17th 2011