WINDHOEK – Cattle farming is a centuries-old tradition in Namibia. The national herd consists of a mix of breeds including indigenous breeds and those with European heritage and traits.
All these cattle are reared naturally. Producers who deliver to Meatco are responsible for the welfare of their animals and must ensure that they are aware of all welfare standards, Meatco explains in its latest newsletter. It says veterinary issues records are kept and annual veterinary inspections are carried out. All animal handling facilities must be designed for the ease of handling animals and to prevent injuries. Animals must be handled with care to avert stress and injuries, while transport vehicles must comply with the conditions of the code of practice for transporting and handling of animals. Adequate handling facilities at the point of loading and offloading must be available while anything that can injure an animal must be removed.
Meatco views animal welfare as a priority. All farms registered with Meatco must be members of, and fully adhere to the Farm Assured Namibian Meat (FANmeat) scheme. Upon arrival at our processing facilities, deliveries are registered and animals are inspected by Meatco’s Animal Welfare Officer. Once in resting areas within our intake area, cattle are supplied with food as required and water is available at all times. Our trained staff are experts in low stress handling, and after a fixed period of rest, the cattle are led into the processing facility.
Traditional handling includes fear and force by using different tools to hit animals, electrical teasers to tame them, yelling, letting them run and other stress-causing methods. However, Meatco does not handle animals in this way. Our staff is trained based on the principles of low stress handling – a video by Temple Grandin and Bud Williams. As an organization, in partnership with producers, we can guarantee that animals processed at our plants were raised naturally by our producers and do not receive any growth hormones or routine antibiotics. They are slaughtered in a world-class hygienic and food safety environment with the necessary animal welfare practices in place.
Farmers who rear slaughter cattle for the market and choose to slaughter their cattle at our factories in Windhoek or Okahandja, have the privilege of their products being sold in lucrative global markets, including the European Union (EU) and Scandanavian countries. Meatco has developed its very own Nature Reserve brand of products, which along with the Meatco brand, extract the maximum value from international markets, which in turn flows back into Namibian producers’ pockets. ‘Natures Reserve’ means an area where nature provides naturally. This means that every animal reared within the Natures Reserve Beef Programme, is produced naturally in an open and healthy environment.
Factory procedures: Quality & Food Hygiene Meatco constantly measures itself by benchmarking practices against the best in the world through regular audits by independent, internationally recognised auditing companies like SAI Global, SGS and Grolink. Meatco adheres to stringent EU standards and is independently audited. This means regular inspections of our factory procedures are done including our operations as well as our producers’ farms and farming practices. The most stringent standards need to be adhered to throughout the supply chain to be able to supply to our lucrative markets. Audits done at Meatco include the ISO 9001, HACCP and BRC certification. The result of our production chain is natural beef cuts, chilled, vacuum-packed and farm-fresh that can last for up to six months, remaining fresh without being chilled.