How several former vegans and vegetarians across the country came to see meat as their calling.
Before she was a butcher, Ms. Kavanaugh was a strict vegetarian. She stopped eating meat for more than a decade, she said, out of a deep love for animal life and respect for the environment. She became a butcher for exactly the same reasons.
Ms. Kavanaugh, 30, is one in a small but successful cadre of like-minded former vegetarians and vegans who became butchers in hopes of revolutionizing the current food system in the United States. Referring to themselves as ethical butchers, they have opened shops that offer meat from animals bred on grassland and pasture, with animal well-being, environmental conservation and less wasteful whole-animal butchery as their primary goals.
It’s a sharp contrast to the industrial-scale factory farming that produces most of the nation’s meat, and that has come under investigation and criticism for its waste, overuse of antibiotics, and inhumane, hazardous conditions for the animals. The outcry has been so strong that some meat producers say they are changing their practices. But these newer butchers contend that the industry is proceeding too slowly, with a lack of transparency that doesn’t inspire trust.