Assemblymember Levine Trims the Fat to Help California Craft Ranchers

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) today announced legislation to support the growing craft ranching and craft butchery sectors by making it easier and safer to conduct the mobile slaughter of goats, sheep and swine at a farm site. AB 888 (Levine) would allow small quantities of these livestock animals to be processed at the ranch they were raised in, rather than being transported to a slaughterhouse for processing.


A growing part of California’s food system includes consumers seeking to purchase whole livestock directly from a rancher, which allows them to better monitor the feed, care and quality of the livestock being grown and consumed. Under current law, a consumer purchasing a whole goat, sheep or swine must have that animal transported, often hundreds of miles from the farm it was raised in to be safely processed. 


California adopted health and safety guidelines for the mobile slaughter of livestock in 2019, but limited mobile whole animal processing to cattle. By authorizing the craft processing of goats, sheep and swine at a farm site, AB 888 will give ranchers and consumers an important tool to sell locally raised, largely organic meats to families and restaurants across the state.


Local ranchers expressed excitement about AB 888.


“I’m thrilled about this bill,” said Marcia Barinaga, owner of Barinaga Ranch in Marin County. “It will really be a game-changer for small producers like myself. Slaughter options are so limited, and we have been driving our animals long distances to slaughter facilities that are not set up to deal with small producers who are harvesting just a few animals. On-ranch slaughter by a skilled mobile abattoir is the most humane, environmentally friendly and economical option for my small crop of lambs."


Currently, only 56 mobile slaughter companies operate in California. That number is expected to increase as the popularity of craft processed meats grows. Craft livestock processing will also reduce carbon emissions related to reduced transportation to commercial livestock processing facilities.


“Ranchers in my district and across California are seeing increased demand from consumers who want to know exactly where their food comes from,” said Assemblymember Levine. AB 888 will make it easier for consumers to connect directly with their food sources, ensure that food safety protocols are being followed and support the expansion of local ranchers selling to consumers across the state.”


AB 888 will be considered by the State Assembly later this Spring.


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