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Shoot, Slaughter, and Shut Up

March 19, 2009

So you want that lamb slaughtered before the weekend and there’s to much of a line at the USDA inspected processor, or better yet, some city boy wants to by one of your pigs for his barbecue, but neither of you have the time or inclination to slaughter it? Then you call a guy like the one featured in this piece, who comes out to the farm and processes the meat on his own, on the back of a truck. Just don’t tell him that you’re selling the meat, and he won’t ask.

Meet John Taylor, or “One Shot Johnny,” as his customers call him. His business card offers just “JT’s Custom Slaughtering” and his cell phone number, along with clip art of a cow, pig, sheep, and lamb. But then, he doesn’t really need a card. Just about everyone in California north of San Francisco who raises animals for meat knows the tall “ranch butcher” with the bristly mustache and straight-arrow demeanor of a frontier sheriff. Now 43, he began sweeping floors in his family’s butcher shop (since sold) in third grade, and started helping his uncle in the pasture not long after. “I was doomed—I knew this was what I was meant to do,” he says.
Taylor ties on a black rubber apron that hangs past the tops of his rubber boots and chains a knife holder around his waist. He sticks a hook through the animal’s lower jaw and attaches it to a winch mounted on his truck. Twenty minutes of expert scraping, shaving, and eviscerating later, the pig has become pork.

You wouldn’t think that slaughtering an animal for human consumption would be a near criminal enterprise, but this is only legal if the meat is for the farmer’s consumption. If he sells it, he’s selling uninspected meat. It’s only the dollars exchanged that make it unsafe for human consumption…
Read the whole thing here.

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From → Food Safety

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