The Vegetarians and Vegans Who Became Butchers

Last Tuesday, The New York Times published a very interesting article about former vegetarians and vegans who became butchers. The people profiled did so, according to The Times, because they wanted to revolutionize the U.S.’s current food system to embrace what they consider ethical practices. Regardless of their reasons, the vegan’s and vegetarian’s efforts should be applauded and choices respected. Hopefully, they will stay well and safe but, unfortunately, these people could be at great risk. For example, three years ago owners of a vegan cafe in Los Angeles decided they were going to serve meat harvested from their northern California farm only to receive death threats shortly thereafter.

The Vegetarians Who Turned Into Butchers

By Melissa Clark, August 6, 2019, The New York Times

“At Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe in Denver, Kate Kavanaugh trimmed the sinew from a deep-red hunk of beef the size of a bed pillow.

“Flatiron steak is the second-most tender muscle in a steer’s body,” she said, focused on her knife work. “This guy sits on the scapula, and I love it because it has beautiful lacy fat.”

After the meat was cut down into several smaller steaks, she wrapped one up, grabbed a couple of tallow cubes molded into the shapes of “Star Wars” characters, and headed to a nearby kitchen to cook us some lunch.

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.”


PHOTO CREDIT: By Archie MacDonald52 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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