(This page printed from UtahRails.net, Copyright 2000-2017 Don Strack)

Utah's Livestock Industry and Utah Railroads

This page was last updated on May 6, 2013.

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Ogden was where UP, SP, and D&RGW interchanged livestock. The first facility in Ogden was a corral jointly owned by Oregon Short Line and Rio Grande Western. Completed in 1898, it continued to grow until it was competing for space among the roundhouses and car shops of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. In April 1917, a new Ogden Union Stock Yards was opened for business. Located across the Weber River west of the old stock yard, it was owned by Ogden Packing & Provision Co., which was purchased in 1924 by American Packing & Provision Co., a large interstate corporation that controlled the slaughter and sale of livestock products, mostly beef and sheep. In 1935, a federal court ordered the breakup of this monopoly, and in 1936 Ogden Union Stock yards was sold to Denver Union Stock Yards. The facility grew and continued in operation throughout the late 1950s and 1960s as trucks took over the transportation of livestock. Ogden Union Stock Yards finally closed in 1970.

Ogden had 356 pens for all livestock, and 214 low pens for hogs only. The yards had 19 loading chutes for single-deck cars and 14 loading chutes for either single-deck or double-deck cars. In comparison, facilities at Denver were roughly three times the size of those at Ogden, with 1,000 pens and 79 loading chutes. Ogden was the largest stock yards west of Denver.

The peak year for numbers of animals was 1945, with almost 1.8 million head of sheep, 300,000 head of cattle, and 350,000 hogs. The year 1945 was also the peak year for livestock-related rail traffic, with 20,000 cars of sheep, 19,000 cars of cattle, and 6,000 cars of hogs being either unloaded at Ogden, or loaded after sale, or re-loaded after the prescribed five-hour rest period. Sheep and the processing of lamb and mutton was the reason Swift & Co. purchased the American Packing & Provision Co.'s plant in Ogden in 1949. The Swift plant in Ogden furnished almost all of that company's lamb and mutton meat for Eastern markets.

Salt Lake Union Stockyards -- Information about the stock yards located near Salt Lake City, in North Salt Lake.

Ogden Union Stock Yards -- Information about the stock yards located in Ogden.

The 28 Hour Law

First passed in March 1873; repealed due to being inadequate facilities, i.e., inadequate fencing, inadequate provisions for feeding and watering, and no requirement for a dry location for animals to rest.

New law passed in June 1906, with more complete description of facilities needed to rest animals.

The 28 hour law did not apply to livestock movements by truck until September 2005. And since this is relatively recent, there are lots of on-line sources with discussions both pro and con. And many of these sources include some background about the history of livestock movements in general.

The 28 hour law is not mentioned in "Prime Cut, Livestock Raising and Meatpacking in the United States, 1607-1983" by Jimmy M. Skaggs. It's a good book but it barely mentions the 28 hour law except in passing.

More Information

USDA web page for 28-Hour Law resources

Text of 28-Hour Law, at Cornell University (current law)

Text of 1906 28-Hour Law -- PDF of text of 1906 law available through Google Books

Triple-deck Union Pacific hog car -- A page describing the UP stock car preserved at the Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum in Campo, California.

Wikipedia article about railroad stock cars