How does one become a butcher?

Not in the figurative sense of being a serial killer, mass murderer, or especially bad singer, mind you, but an actual person who carves up animals and sells the meat off. Is it usually a family thing? Are there schools where one can sign up for classes to become a butcher? Is there some kind of licensing required? Is it normally a second job?

…And now, to finish watching the Bill Hicks documentary.

I can’t give you a definitive answer, but you might find this article of interest:

Apparently one can come to be a butcher from more than one starting place in life.

I know Riverbank High School in Riverbank, California used to have a meat cutting course as an occupational course. The students would meet off campus and learn from the butcher directly.

In my youth in the 60s the route was simplicity itself. You took a job at a butcher’s shop and learned the trade from the ground up. One of my friends did it this way; in fact he and his two brothers all became butchers.

The joke was that you could always tell a butcher by the number of fingers he had. My buddy’s brother had one chopped off by accident; apparently it used to be quite common in the trade.

In Quebec, “Retail Butchery” is a 900-hour course that earns you a Diploma of Vocational Studies. They offered it at the cooking school I attended. I was told that while the courses were very physically demanding, the placement rates were nearly 100% for those who passed.

In the UK it’s a college course (NVQ) and an apprenticeship with a butcher.

Over here you can do a range of technical college courses (with some specialisations going into abattoir work or smallgoods manufacturing) and then go to work, or you can sign up for an apprenticeship where you learn while you work.

I’d love to become a butcher, but I can’t afford to change careers right now. Maybe in a couple of years when we’ve paid down some debts and are in a more stable place.

I know…wrong forum and inappropriate for GQ. But…

My dad was a butcher for decades. He started at a grocery store at age 13; bagging…then wound up in the meat department where he learned the skills. Day in and day out he would work at his trade. Knives that started out as 12 inch behemoths would slowly be ground down over the years to little more than toothpicks. He could take a side of beef and flay it down piece by piece, and he knew where to cut so that he could separate the carcass until it was hanging by only a narrow band of cartilage. He grew to hate his job, but he did it anyway; for me, my brother and sister and our mom. When he finally retired after at least 40 years in the profession, he put down his knives and vowed never to pick them up again. He never did and we knew not to ask him for help in dressing out a deer.

Its entirely because of his sacrifice as a skilled butcher that I have a college education, straight teeth, a good job, a nice warm house and an appreciation for what he had done for his family.

Thanks again dad; I can only wish to be as good a father as he was.

Well, that just about warms my heart. Thanks for sharing :slight_smile: