With Christmas just around the corner and the spirit of foresight instilled in buyers, slaughterhouses of the Islands have decided get ahead of the campaign and start preparing from now on the period of most sacrifices of the entire year. A season in which meats are the protagonists of the menus of the designated days, but also a period in which these Foods in such demand become more expensive by 30%. Which leads many to be proactive and buy the pieces in advance to freeze them and enjoy them without the regret of having paid a fortune for them. «As with gifts on Black Friday, “People with food go ahead to buy cheap”says the manager of Mataderos Insulares de Gran CanariaAgustín González, who acknowledges having advanced the campaign a week in view of the “foresighted” trend.
And although it is still early to see the rebound reflected in the slaughter figures, the island slaughterhouses hope to repeat the trend of the Christmas holidays of recent years in which the number of sacrifices has increased by an average of 30%. “We hope that the results will be more or less like last year, we do not plan any extraordinary variations,” acknowledges the managing director of Matadero Insular. Tenerife, Cristina Sierra, who has also already begun internal preparations and personnel reinforcements for the Christmas campaign. “We are already getting everything ready because it is at the end of the month when we start working more intensely,” she adds. Even with all the preparations underway, Sierra recognizes that There are still many islanders who decide their dishes “at the last minute” depending on the money they have in their pockets at the moment.
At the Gran Canaria Matadero they are very clear that a key date on the calendar is approaching, so they are reinforcing their teams with about ten people. “We have been noticing that throughout the year there is continuity in sacrifices and there are rare dates in which activity picks up, the best example is Christmas,” says González.
And what meats do Canaries prefer? The trend repeats itself year after year. The star dishes on the Christmas menus are made up, according to the manager of the Matadero de Gran Canaria, for lambs and for goats (baifos). This type of meat is gaining more followers every day, influenced by promotional campaigns that local administrations have initiated throughout the Archipelago. “The sacrifice of these animals has increased by 30% thanks to the promotion of these initiatives,” says González.
And this same trend emerges when analyzing the data from the Matadero Insular de Fuerteventura. According to data from the Island Council, in the month of December – historically – the sacrifice of goats, pigs and cows is maintained, but that of lamb is doubled, that of goat is multiplied by a quarter and that of piglets (piglets) is multiplied by a quarter. six. And the same in Tenerife, where it is at the end of November when they plan to start killing more kids, goats and piglets.
Leaving aside the forecasts for the Christmas campaign, the truth is that the cumulative data for the year from the Canarian slaughterhouses reflect that slaughter is decreasing compared to the previous year. In Tenerife, from January to October, the decrease has been 287,000 kilos compared to the same period in 2022, with pigs being the animal that has reduced its slaughter figures the most with a loss of 214,000 kilos (3,060 heads). Sierra expects to close the year with a total figure of 3.5 million kilos, far from the 4.1 million reached in 2022. And Gran Canaria has reduced its activity by 29% from one year to the next, going from one million head of cattle to 734,586. In this case, the reduction in activity is marked by the closure of a chicken company on the island which represented the majority of birds that were slaughtered in the island slaughterhouse.
It also influences the statistics that in previous years more sacrifices were recorded due to the increase in the price of animal feed derived from the war in Ukraine, and the crisis in livestock farming that led many producers to get rid of their animals. “We come from years of great sacrifice with the pandemic, now we return to the data from 2019,” says Sierra. For González, the implementation of the Animal Welfare Law has also been key, which “introduces more control in sacrifices.”
Those responsible for the slaughterhouses of the Archipelago rule out that dietary trends that reject the consumption of animals, such as vegetarianism and veganism, are related to the reduction in slaughter numbers on the Islands. According to González, meat consumption statistics indicate that the trend is the opposite and that “the consumption of this type of food is increasing.” Furthermore, according to the manager, the greater importance of some meats, such as pigs, has an influence. And Sierra agrees. “I believe that the menus are more adapted to the economic issue of families’ pockets, it has nothing to do with an increase in the number of people who decide not to consume meat,” says the managing director of the Matadero de Tenerife.
The slaughterhouses of the Islands have had to adapt to the demands of the application of the new Animal Welfare Law. At the Gran Canaria Insular Slaughterhouse they have stepped up and installed up to 35 surveillance cameras to monitor the animals and workers throughout the process. From reception, through transportation and until reaching the cold rooms. “We control everything that happens, we review the images and we make sure that the treatment given to the animals is correct,” says the manager of the island slaughterhouse, Agustín González, who assures that “bad behavior” such as a kick It can cost a worker to be suspended from employment for a few months. Cattle spend very little time in the slaughterhouse, less than 48 hours, but during that time everything is recorded. “There is a person in charge who is in charge of viewing the images, which can be in the system for up to a month, due to data protection issues,” he points out.