This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Between the Farm and the Farmer’s Market: Slaughterhouses, Regulations, and Alternative Food Networks




Denny, Riva

Type of Degree



Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


Proximity and access to slaughter establishments is a key factor for farmers who wish to produce red meat for local markets. However, the number of slaughter facilities in the US has fallen dramatically over the last four decades, from nearly 10,000 in 1967 to less than 3,000 in 2010. This thesis compares the slaughter industries of Michigan and Alabama, and assesses the importance of a state inspection program on the number of slaughterhouses in the state. Qualitative interviews (20 from each state) are analyzed to identify the features and conditions of the Michigan and Alabama slaughter industries. Multilevel regression models were used with longitudinal data on slaughterhouse numbers in 40 US states from 1967-2010, to determine the importance of state inspection programs, HACCP requirements, time, agricultural structure and livestock industry on the number of slaughterhouses by inspection type. This thesis found that state meat inspection programs are more supportive of small slaughterhouses, and are related to significantly more non-federally inspected slaughterhouses, than federal inspection alone. However, state inspection was not the only factor that influences the total number of slaughterhouses in a state.