Cowboy Riding Herd

What is required for: Slaughters, Butchers & Locker Plants

Bureau of Livestock Identification

Custom slaughterers or itinerant butchers that slaughter cattle for the producer on his premises are now required to be registered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. They should also check with local officials to fulfill any license or permit requirements.

The following is a summary of the requirements of the Food and Agricultural code pertaining to the custom slaughterer. More detailed information about these laws may be obtained from the local brand inspector or supervisor.

The Food and Agricultural code requires that every person that is not a licensed slaughterer that slaughters cattle and calves and does not deliver them to a frozen food locker shall keep the hide until it is inspected or released. The slaughterer is also required to show it on demand of a brand inspector or peace officer. (F & A Code, Section 21455)

A person shall not have a carcass or any meat of a carcass that is not slaughtered by a licensed slaughterer unless he has the hide of the animal or a certificate of inspection or release of the hide. (F & A Code, Section 21456)

The inspection of hides is usually made at the hide house, renderer or some central location. It is the responsibility of the custom slaughterer to make sure the hides are inspected at one of these points. The hide and carcass tag, when completed, serves as a bill of sale for the hide. However, the brand inspector may also ask for other proof of ownership. The person who has the animal slaughtered should be prepared to furnish all proof of ownership necessary to clear the animal. If proof of ownership is not furnished, the hide and carcass will be held and the inspector will dispose of the hide and carcass according to the estray laws.

A custom slaughterer can slaughter cattle for a producer of cattle on his own premises, but the meat cannot be sold. (F & A Code, Sections 22002 and 22003)

Carcasses slaughtered by a custom slaughterer shall be identified by a "hide and carcass" tag which may be purchased from the Bureau of Livestock Identification at the cost of printing and handling. (F & A Code, Section 22004)

Every person that is not a licensed slaughterer that slaughters cattle shall keep a record in a book with the name, address, and telephone number of the person for whom the cattle are slaughtered and a full description of the cattle, including brands, and date of slaughter. The book shall be exhibited on demand of a brand inspector or peace officer. A custom slaughterer shall notify the local brand inspector within 24 hours if he slaughters a bovine animal and does not deliver the carcass to a licensed frozen food locker for processing. (F & A Code, Section 22008)

Each frozen food locker operator shall maintain a record of every transaction which involves uninspected meat. (F & A Code, Section 22006)

If a person delivers a carcass, or hide and carcass, which is not tagged, to an operator of a licensed frozen food locker plant or processor, the locker plant operator or processor shall do the following:

  • Fill out the Hide and Carcass Identification Tag and fasten it to the carcass and hide.
  • If the hide is not with the carcass, he shall give the person delivering the carcass the remaining corresponding numbered tear-off stub tag with instructions to fasten it to the hide from the carcass delivered.