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Butcher shop

Butchers are people who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat or any combination of these three tasks. They may prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments. A butcher may be employed by supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops and fish markets or may be self-employed. An ancient trade, whose duties may date back to the domestication of livestock, butchers formed guilds in England as far back as 1272. Today, many jurisdictions offer trade certifications for butchers. Some areas expect a three-year apprenticeship followed by the option of becoming a master butcher.


  • No one can eat the flesh of a slaughtered animal without having used the hand of a man as slaughterer. Suppose that we had to kill for ourselves the creatures whose bodies we would fain have upon our table, is there one woman in a hundred who would go to the slaughterhouse to slay the bullock, the calf, the sheep or the pig? ... But if we could not do it, nor see it done; if we are so refined that we cannot allow close contact between ourselves and the butchers who furnish this food; if we feel that they are so coarsened by their trade that their very bodies are made repulsive by the constant contact of the blood with which they must be continually besmirched; ... dare we call ourselves refined if we purchase our refinement by the brutalization of others, and demand that some should be brutal in order that we may eat the results of their brutality? We are not free from the brutalizing results of that trade simply because we take no direct part in it.
  • But as the law does think it fit,
    No butchers shall in juries sit.
    • Thomas d'Urfey, Butler's Ghost; or, Hudibras, The Fourth Part, with Reflections upon These Times (London: Joseph Hindmarsh, 1682), p. 170.
    • Perhaps suggested by a line in Butler's poem, "On Critics": "As butchers are forbid to b'of a jury." See The Poetical Works of Samuel Butler, ed. Reginald Brimley Johnson, (London: George Ball & Sons,1851), Vol. II, p. 174. On whether butchers were actually excluded from juries, see Notes and Queries, no. 82 (May 24, 1851), p. 408.
  • The karma of cruelty is the most terrible of all. The fate of the cruel must fall also upon all who go out intentionally to kill God's creatures, and call it "sport".
  • The ignorance, carelessness, and brutality are not only in the rough-handed slaughtermen, but in the polite ladies and gentlemen whose dietetic habits render the slaughtermen necessary.
    • Henry S. Salt, The Humanities of Diet, Manchester: The Vegetarian Society, 1914.
  • A little while ago I met on the road a butcher … He is not yet an experienced butcher, and his duty is to stab with a knife. I asked him whether he did not feel sorry for the animals that he killed. He gave me the usual answer: 'Why should I feel sorry? It is necessary.' But when I told him that eating flesh is not necessary, but is only a luxury, he agreed; and then he admitted that he was sorry for the animals.
  • She often spoke of marryin' a butcher or a sausage maker, having a liking for those trades, as she said, for they knew you couldn't never get all the stains from their aprons, and didn't demand it.
    • Gene Wolfe, "Our Neighbor by David Copperfield", Future Tense (1978), ed. Lee Harding; reprinted in Endangered Species (1989).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 87.
  • Whoe'er has gone thro' London street,
    Has seen a butcher gazing at his meat,
    And how he keeps
    Gloating upon a sheep's
    Or bullock's personals, as if his own;
    How he admires his halves
    And quarters—and his calves,
    As if in truth upon his own legs grown.
  • Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding fresh
    And sees fast by a butcher with an axe,
    But will suspect 'twas he that made the slaughter?
  • The butcher in his killing clothes.
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