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Questions Answered

Q. Do you home deliver?

YES! We deliver to suburbs all over Melbourne. Checkout this link for more details.

Q. What is free range?

Free range means that for no period of time, have the animals been refused access to fully open air, and natural open pasture. The term also dictates certain stocking densitites which must not be breached. Free range is natural.

Q. Do you sell organic meat?

No! All of our produce is free range, hormone and antibiotic free, but not certified organic. Just because something is organic, doesn’t guarantee the highest standard of animal welfare. Our priority is welfare, and clean, natural farming practices. Because we are NOT organic, we are much more affordable.

Q. Are your animals slaughtered humanely?

Whenever I am asked this, I feel it’s important to first raise the question; is there such a thing as “humane slaughter”? I figure, that in a world where there’s definitely such a thing as “inhumane slaughter”, then the way animals are slaughtered in the four main abattoirs we receive meat from, must surely be a true definition of humane slaughter. These facilities are very well equipped and designed to minimise animal stress, while guaranteeing a fast, stress free and professional kill. In slaughter, the fact of the matter is; the animal must be stunned (rendered unconscious), and must be bled to death. I wish there was another way to put it. It is important to know, that at the four abattoirs we buy from, the animals never see their fellow animals get slaughtered before themselves. There are double-doors etc. which prevents this. There are occasionally rogue cases of animal cruelty in abattoirs. And we can only hope that the individuals who commit these crimes are punished accordingly and that the companies who employ them deplore the actions and constantly raise the standard of professionalism.

At Cannings, we believe that CCTV should be mandatory in all stock yards, cattle races, stunning boxes and kill floors, in every Australian abattoir, and that the footage be independently audited/reviewed. Please write to the following people and demand action: Brendan Tatham CEO of Primesafe Jaclyn Symes Agriculture Minister 

Q. How exactly is each animal processed?

WARNING – this section contains graphic descriptions of animal slaughter

The door opens, then the animal moves forward and enters the box. The animal does not see the stunning person above them. The stunning person then administers the stun via a captive bolt, which penetrates the skull as quick as a bullet. Once the animal drops (immediately), the side of the box opens up and the animal is hoisted up by the hind legs before its throat cut – draining of all blood (whilst fully unconscious).

As the lamb moves further into the race, the walls of the race become increasingly narrow, until the lamb cannot move laterally. They will just keep moving forward. Then a little flap opens up and the lamb will push it’s head through the flap. The race holds the lamb in place while the stunning person applies an electric charged probe to the side of the lamb’s head, which pierces the skin and stuns the lamb, rendering it unconscious. The lamb is then pulled through the doors, before having it’s throat cut – draining of all blood (whilst fully unconscious).

Once our chickens are unloaded from the trucks and whilst still in their shipping crates they are calmed in the “dark room” (a temperature controlled room with a dark blue light where fall partially asleep). Then, they are placed on a conveyer belt (still in crates) which passes through a carbon dioxide chamber, with enough Co2 in the air to put the chicken to sleep with no stress whatsoever. After that, the chickens pass through another chamber, with a much higher concentration of Co2, which renders the chickens “permanently unconscious”. It is then, the chickens are removed from their crates, hung upside down and bled out (whilst fully unconscious).

Similar to the way the Hazeldene’s chickens are rendered unconscious, pigs undergo carbon dioxide stunning. Three or four pigs enter the small room which is flushed with Co2 until they are unconscious. Then the pigs are removed from the Co2 room and hung upside down, before being bled out (whilst fully unconscious).

Q. How far must the animals travel pre-slaughter?

Beef: 10km – 300km. Cattle is transported from all over north western Tasmania to Smithton, Tasmania.
Lamb: 10km – 700km (seasonal). For most of the year, lambs are raised in Kyneton, processed in Kyneton.
Chicken: 0 km – Processed on-site
Pork: 400km. Darling Downs to Booyong.

Q. What do the animals eat?

Beef: 100% grass and grass silage
Lamb: 100% grass and gras silage
Chicken: 80% grain, 20% seeds and insects from foraging
Pork: 60% grain (wheat, soy, barley), 40% leafy green veggies
Eggs: 50% grain, 50% forage (seeds, insects and grubs).

Q. Do you use preservatives in the meat?

All of our unmarinated and marinated meats are preservative free. We have developed some fantastic marinades, and have now found a supplier who makes awesome spice mixes that are preservative and “number” free. Having said that, our sausages and burgers do have preservative 223, and our home made smallgoods (ham, bacon, smoked chicken, turkey etc) have a very small amount of sodium nitrate to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. EXCEPT for our Paleo range, where there is no use of preservatives, and as a result, are sold from our freezer section.

Q. Why does your mince discolour in the middle?

Mince that is bright red on the outside and grey in the middle is normal and healthy. If it’s not discolouring in the middle, there is a preservative in the mince. If your mince is discolouring on the outside, it has spoiled.

Q. What goes into your sausages?

I’m not sure where the uncertainty or distrust that circles around sausage fillings come from, but in all my years in the meat industry, I have only ever seen good meat go into sausages, so that’s what I put into them today. Most of our sausages are made from boneless shoulder and belly meat. We also put a small amount of what we call “trim” in our snags. Trim is basically the small pieces of meat and fat that are cut off your favourite pieces, like rumps, porterhouse, chuck etc, in order for us to sell them. We trim these larger cuts to perfection, then the small pieces go into the sausages. It’s good meat, but they don’t represent a desired cut/portion. Once it’s minced, it’s awesome. A good sausage really comes down to how much fat it has, and we aim for 80% lean meat, 20% fat.

Q. Why are some chicken fillets so BIG?

Firstly, it’s important to know that there are no hormones, steroids or artificial growth promoters in our free range chickens. Bannockburn chicken feed is specifically formulated to enhance muscle yield. Secondly, our free range producer does not size-grade the chicken breasts and thighs. So we get a mix of big ones and small ones. “Ross”, the particular breed of chicken that Bannockburn produce, grow up to about 4kg in size by about 8 weeks of life. The difference in getting a 200gm breast fillet and a 400gm breast fillet is quite literally 10 days of growth.

Q. Do you donate to charity?

We support a handful of local schools and organisations, and a few of Australia’s best animal welfare protection organisations. If your local organisation is in need of fundraising, please complete the Donations and Sponsorship form on our Contact Us page.

Q. Are there any employment opportunities at CANNINGS?

We are always searching for standout employees. Please visit our Employment Opportunities page, and upload your CV.