I designed a thing called center track conveyor system that was replaced an older type conveyor system and works better than the older system. The cattle walk up a ramp and they straddle a moving conveyor. There were a lot of visual things that I had to design into it. I had to make sure that when the cattle entered this thing that they couldn't see that the unit was eight feet above the floor because if they saw that visual cliff effect, they wouldn't walk in. And lighting was real critical. If the entrance was too dark, they wouldn't go in.
What did you do about the cliff effect?
You put in a false floor so when they're straddling the conveyor belt and riding it, the false floor is going to be about a foot below where their feet are. And cattle have poor depth perception so they have the illusion that they can walk on the floor but when they get in they find out that they're high-centered and the next thing they know they're just riding along and just following each other. Cattle are great followers for following a leader and they just follow each other. When things are working right, it's very calm. In fact, the pass they audit is scored with a scoring system that I developed called the American Meat Institute Guideline. In order to pass McDonald's audit, for example, they've got to be able to move 100 cattle through this system and get them stunned and have only three animals out of 100 moo and balk. Back in the bad old days, sometimes you'd have half of the animals mooing and bellowing because there woud be so much going on.
That's a huge improvement.
Yes, it's a huge improvement. Things can really be done right. I've taken a lot of non-industry people through a plant and I've had them just watch the cattle go up the chute and they go "Oh, they walk up the chute quietly" and I say "That's the way it should be." It shouldn't be a great big horrible mess.
That you've been so successful in getting your system adopted by so many American meatpackers must be very satisfying for you.
Yeah, it is.
And you also do this elsewhere around the world?