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Perfect for independent science project during summer vacation. Let's learn about meat processing at the Meat Information Center in Shibaura!

Translated from Japanese by
It's time to think about what to do for your independent science project during the summer vacation. If you love meat, we recommend a sciece project on meat processing. In Minato-ku, there is a "Meat Information Center" operated by the Meat Market of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market. In this issue, we will introduce what kind of exhibitions are held at the Meat Information Center.

What is the Meat Market and Shibaura Slaughterhouse like?

Entrance of the meat information center

Did you know that there is a meat market called ""Meat Market and Shibaura Slaughterhouse"" at the Konan Exit of Shinagawa Station? There is a ""Meat Information Center"" located in the center building. As you will see when you visit, the meat market is quite large. This is the only meat market operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. It plays a significant role in providing a stable supply of fresh and safe meat to enrich the daily dietary lives of Tokyo residents.

At the Meat Market and Shibaura Slaughterhouse, cattle and pigs are processed, and in addition to the meat we eat, leather is also processed. As for cattle, 86,000 head of cattle are processed annually, which is about 10% of the nation's total. In particular, the Meat Market and Shibaura Slaughterhouse handles many top-rated meats, with A5 and A4 beef accounting for about two-fifths of the total, and the top-grade pork accounting for three-tenths. For this reason, Shibaura is known as the Hall of Fame of Meat and Shibaura Brand.

In order to learn more about the meat market, the Meat Information Center offers [1] Introduction to the operations and roles of the slaughterhouse, [2] Introduction to meat production and distribution, and [3] Exhibits on eliminating prejudice and discrimination against the meat market and slaughterhouse.

Let's check out the operations and roles of toba!

●History of Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Tokyo Meat Market
In the zone near the entrance, a chronology of the history of Tokyo Meat Market from the first establishment to the present is presented. The history of the market dates back to the Edo period (1603-1867), when it was first established in Shirogane-cho, Ebara-gun, Tokyo (near present-day Shirogane, Minato-ku). In the Meiji era (1869-1868), a public slaughterhouse was opened in Tsukiji, and private slaughterhouse were opened in various locations. In 1936, the Tokyo Municipal Slaughterhouse was built in Shibaura, and six other slaughtehouses were opened in Tokyo. In 1936, the Tokyo City Hall was built in Shibaura, and due to this, the six slaughterhouses in Tokyo had been closed one after another by 1940. Then, in 1966, the jurisdiction of Shibaura and the other markets was transferred to the Central Wholesale Market, and the market of today was opened.

In front of the chronological table, there is a model of the entire Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Meat Market, which gives an overall view of the facilities.

● Production (from fattening to shipping).
This panel display shows the process of raising cattle and pigs on a farm, shipping them, and delivering them to consumers. This exhibit shows how cattle and pigs are raised using various innovations in selective breeding and feeding in order to produce delicious meat. Actual feed is also displayed under the panels. Let's see what kind of feed they are eating.

●Transition of Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Meat Market (photo exhibit)
This photo exhibit shows when the Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Meat Market first opened and the changes that have taken place since then. Today, the Minato Exit has a lively atmosphere with Intercity, restaurants, and condominiums, but when the market opened, it was a factory district with the Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Meat Market and a sewage treatment plant.

Let's find out how meat production and distribution works!

●Operation flow of butchering and dismantling
At Shibaura Slaughterhouse, 430 head of cattle and 1,400 head of pigs are slaughtered every day. Here, visitors can see a panel display of the process of slaughtering and dismantling cattle and pigs. It shows how the slaughter and dismantling process is carried out in a modern facility while taking hygiene into consideration. Underneath the panels, knives and other tools used in the slaughter and dismantling process are displayed in a case, giving visitors a glimpse of what it is like in the field.

●Flow of market transactions
Beef and pork carcasses slaughtered at Shibaura Slaughterhouse are auctioned at the meat market. Wholesalers (sellers) and middle wholesalers (buyers) participate in the auction. The amount of the sale is remitted to the producer after deducting slaughtering costs and a certain amount of wholesale fees. The report shows the flow of transactions at the market.

●Meat hygiene inspection
Each cattle and pig sold at the meat market is checked for diseases. You can see how only meat that has passed the inspection is distributed in the market.

Let's check the actual carcass and meat parts on the model!

●Models of live cattle, pigs, and carcasses, and cattle fur
The display of models showing the actual size of cattle, pigs, and carcasses is one of the main attractions of the Meat Information Center. On display here are models of an 800-kilogram live cow, a 250-kilogram beef carcass (half), and a 38-kilogram pig carcass (half). The fur of the cattle is real and visitors can actually touch it.

●Carcass gradings, meat parts, and internal parts.

Grading is the process by which carcasses are produced and distributed at a fair price. Here you will find an explanation of the grading process. Also on display are the parts of the meat and internal organs, and there are replicas of full-size cattle and pig entrails. Visitors can actually hold them in their hands and check the size and weight.

●How leather is made
The Shibaura Slaughterhouse and Meat Market handles not only raw meat but also leather. Here you can see the process of how leather is made and an exhibit of actual leather.

Let's learn about prejudice and discrimination against meat markets and slaughterhouses!

●History of Meat and Human Rights
The history of meat, which began in the Jomon period, is on display, and visitors can learn about the occupational discrimination that went along with it. In the past, people who worked in the meat and leather processing industry were subject to discrimination. The exhibition displays letters and internet postings of them. There is also a display of impressions of studies and human rights posters by elementary and junior high school students from Minato-ku and Shinagawa-ku. Let's take this opportunity to look and think about discrimination and prejudice.

Let's visit the Meat Information Center!

Handouts and souvenirs received on the temporary opening day of summer vacation (example)

The Meat Information Center is open for free tours every weekday except Saturdays, Sundays, National holidays, and New Year holidays. The location is easily accessible, a 5-minute walk from the Konan Exit of Shinagawa Station. During the summer vacation, there are temporary opening days and events are held. Please visit the museum for independent science project during the summer vacation.

Meat Information Center
Address: 6F Center Building, Tokyo Central Wholesale Meat Market, 2-7-19 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 03-5479-0651
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, National holidays, and New Year holidays

Temporary opening days during summer vacation
July 22, 2023 (Saturday) 10:00-18:00
August 19, 2023 (Saturday) 10:00-18:00

Event details
Handout materials: Materials on cows and pigs useful for independent science project will be distributed.
Video: A video will be shown to explain the process of meat from production to the dinner table.
Explanation of exhibits: Visitors will be able to ask questions about how meat is produced and how it is delivered to the table, as well as about the deliciousness of meat.
Souvenirs: erasers of cows and pigs, etc.

*Meat Information Center is free to enter and no reservations are required, including on temporary summer vacation days.

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