Butcher: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A butcher in Feira de Santana, Brazil.

A butcher is someone who slaughters animals for food or prepares the meat and other related goods for sale.



Primary butchery in a meat packing plant, 1873

Butchery is a traditional work. In the industrialized world, slaughterhouses use butchers (slaughtermen, in British English) to slaughter the animals, performing one or a few of the steps repeatedly as specialists on a semiautomated disassembly line. The steps include stunning (rendering the animal unconscious in a humane manner), exsanguination (severing the carotid or brachial arteries to facilitate blood removal), skinning (removing the hide or pelt) or scalding and dehairing (pork), evisceration (removing the viscera) and splitting (dividing the carcass in half along the spinal column).

After the carcasses are chilled (unless "hot-boned"), primary butchery consists of selecting carcasses, sides, or quarters from which primal cuts can be produced with the minimum of wastage, separate the primal cuts from the carcasses using the appropriate tools and equipment following company procedures, trim primal cuts and prepare for secondary butchery or sale, and store cut meats hygienically and safely. Secondary butchery involves boning and trimming primal cuts in preparation for sale. Historically, primary and secondary butchery were performed in the same establishment but the advent of methods of preservation and low cost transportation has largely separated them.

Some butchers sell their goods in specialized stores, although most meat is sold through supermarkets. Supermarkets employ butchers for secondary butchery, but the role is diminished with the advent of "case-ready" meat, where the product is packaged for retail sale at the packinghouse or specialized central processing plants.

In the rest of the world, it is common for butchers to perform many or all of these functions. Where refrigeration is less common, these skills are needed to sell the meat in a timely manner.


From a professional standpoint it is extremely dangerous not to wear a bellyguard (made of plate, chain mail, or Kevlar in some cases) and a safety glove (made of chain mail or Kevlar). The tools of the trade usually consist of a scabbard, special knives for skinning, breaking or boning, and a meat hook for handling slippery meat cuts. Some butcher positions require the use of a food grade band saw or other types of knives. Also important is a steel for honing the knives. Different shaped knives are used by different boners, slicers and slaughterman.

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Metaphorical use

In various periods and cultures, the term "butcher" was applied to people who acted cruelly to other human beings or slaughtered them. For example, Pompey - a prominent Roman general and politician of the First Century B.C. - got the Latin nickname adulescentulus carnifex, translated as "The Teenage Butcher" or "The Butcher Boy", due to brutal treatment of political opponents in the early part of his career.

People who have been coined a butcher of a certain place where they operated include:

See also

A butcher's, Tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (XIV century)

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BUTCHER, one who slaughters animals, and dresses and prepares the carcass for purposes of food. The word also is applied to one who combines this trade with that of selling the meat, and to one who only sells the meat. The O. Fr. bochier .or bouchier, modern Boucher, from which "butcher" is derived, meant originally a killer of goats and a seller of goats' flesh, from the O. Fr. boc, a he-goat; cf. Ital. beccaio, from becco, a goat.

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John Stuart Bute >>

Simple English

A butcher is person whose job is to prepare and sell meat. Some butchers also kill the animals the meat is from. Butchers also prepare sausages, and other meat-products.


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