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19-09-2008, 21:55   #1
learnerplates
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How to become a butcher? license to kill and butcher animals

How do you get trained and get a license to kill and butcher animals?
i'd like to be able to take an animal I breed from field to plate, I'd also like to learn how to season meat.

I've always loved butcher shops, victualers, I have access to a farm and my girlfriend is training to be a chef, the possibilities would be endless if I could butcher my own organic animals some time in the future, does anyone know how I could achieve this? who issues a license to kill farm animals.


As far as I know farmers need to register the death of animals with someone before/as it is butchered, this is usually a vet or a butcher. I've no interest in killing animals before anyone mentions it, but I'd prefer to do all myself and of course would never attempt it unless first trained.

No veggies please.
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20-09-2008, 08:58   #2
Magic Monkey
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Craftbutchers run a Fetac Certificate course, but you have to be working in a butcher's to do it. DIT run that course, details are here.
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21-09-2008, 07:44   #3
CJhaughey
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You can rear and slaughter your own pigs, and probably sheep too as long as they are for your own use.
Cattle are different probably because of the size of the carcass and BSE regulations.
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06-10-2008, 21:03   #4
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I didn't think you could butcher your own animals but I guess if you breed your own then they can't really stop people.
The skill is the issue then.
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06-10-2008, 21:05   #5
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Originally Posted by Magic Monkey View Post
Craftbutchers run a Fetac Certificate course, but you have to be working in a butcher's to do it. DIT run that course, details are here.
The DIT course looks very detailed and focused on the trade. I guess there's no real way to learn the actual skills other than get practice with a butcher.

Anyone out there managed to get the skills without being in the trade?
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08-10-2008, 15:56   #6
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Originally Posted by learnerplates View Post

No veggies please.
Um, if I may, I'm one of those veggie thingys you seem to not want to hear from. So you might want to stop reading now, because as this is a public forum, I'm going to give my opinion either way.

I don't eat meat mainly due to the conditions farm animals are kept, transported and butchered in. I can honestly say that to breed, rear, butcher and cook your own animals is really something that can only be looked at as a good thing.

Customers will know exactly where the meat came from and so long as it's ethically done it's so so much better than the usual crap. I think if more people did this, there would be less people giving up meat TBH.

It could be a huge marketing op for you too. Especially if you can slaughter on the farm (don't know about legalities). The animal is born, lives and dies as humanely as possible in the one place. Definately a business I would support.

Oh and might sound silly, but if you have pigs, advertise them as free range. I can only find one freerange pig place in Ireland! Not very handy for BBQ's!

There you go, ^^ Am I in trouble now for posting on your thread?
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08-10-2008, 16:01   #7
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As far as I know you still have to be able to dispose of the carcase in a legally sanctioned place. The killing isn't that big a deal but the disposal is more an issue.

Why not learn all the butchering issues and leave the slaughtering to a professional?
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09-10-2008, 09:31   #8
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A couple of points on the slaughter of animals - most of the legislation is outdated and is being reviewed by the EU. The new rules will increase the welfare provisions required for animals at the time of slaughter and slaughter houses will have to appoint Animal Welfare Officer to oversee the implementation of the new rules. I believe that there is also a requirement for a government vet to be in attendance at the slaughter of large animals - cattle, pigs, lambs - to certify that the carcasses are disease free and fit for human consumption. The regulations don't prevent farms from conducting their own slaughter - but it does make it more difficult.

Many small holders use abattoirs because the ecomonies of scale don't make it cost effective to kill animals on farms. Abattoirs have all the processing equipment necessary to complete the job - stunning and killing equipment, blood collection and processing plant, hair removal and skinning machinery, singeing torches, desinewing machinery, hooks, gantries, meat saws, bone saws etc. Many abattoirs have mobile slaughter plant for smaller animals - chickens etc - and will visit farms.

Having said all that, I think your idea of raising meat for your own use is brilliant - be it a restaurant or personal comsumption. Killing and cleaning an animal is only one small step in the process and the ability to butcher your own meat could be a valuable resource - as well as a great selling point. Good luck finding a suitable course.
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09-10-2008, 21:11   #9
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Originally Posted by helena.ryan View Post
Um, if I may, I'm one of those veggie thingys you seem to not want to hear from. So you might want to stop reading now, because as this is a public forum, I'm going to give my opinion either way.

I don't eat meat mainly due to the conditions farm animals are kept, transported and butchered in. I can honestly say that to breed, rear, butcher and cook your own animals is really something that can only be looked at as a good thing.

Customers will know exactly where the meat came from and so long as it's ethically done it's so so much better than the usual crap. I think if more people did this, there would be less people giving up meat TBH.

It could be a huge marketing op for you too. Especially if you can slaughter on the farm (don't know about legalities). The animal is born, lives and dies as humanely as possible in the one place. Definately a business I would support.

Oh and might sound silly, but if you have pigs, advertise them as free range. I can only find one freerange pig place in Ireland! Not very handy for BBQ's!

There you go, ^^ Am I in trouble now for posting on your thread?
Thanks for the positive feedback, when i said no veggies I meant no anti-meat people, you're more than welcome.

The first reason I'd like to learn is for personal use, friends and family and I'd also like to learn how to smoke the meat.
The commercial side of it sounds great but it's not my focus now maybe in the future, but it would
be great to see more home grown, organic meat, maybe smoked and of course it'd be even better if it didn't cost an arm and a leg, the greed here is colossal ,maybe things will soon change.
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09-10-2008, 21:38   #10
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Would you consider raising your own and using an abbatoir to butcher them? You pay the abbatoir, you get the output back yourself. Contact your local abbatoir and ask if you can have a chat with the manager/owner/head chief person. See what he'd charge you if you brought an animal in for butchering, saying you wanted them killed, cleaned and sectioned, but you'd like to get the carcass back in two skinned halves, with nominated internal organs. You'd then be able to make your own cuts, decide what was for hanging, smoking and deep freeze, cook up some of the offal cuts etc. and you wouldn't be left having to dispose of hooves, lungs, brains, spinal cords and so on by yourself.

Hugh Fearnsley Whittingdale (or whatever his bloody name is) did a similar exercise for the River Cottage Meat Book.
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10-10-2008, 10:43   #11
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That seems the best option to me as well. Some of the really big operations probably wouldn't be interested, but in the UK at least, there are small independent abattoirs that specialise in slaughtering small numbers of animals, in particular more unusual animals that a mainline abattoir wouldn't normally handle.

I'd also imagine the costs of the hygiene and H&S regulations would be prohibitive to setting up your own private abattoir for slaughtering the odd animal or two, whereas they might be manageable if you were just to settle for the butchering. Not to be sneezed at though with the refrigeration requirements and all, I'd say, and I'd imagine to make it pay, you'd also have to supply butchering services to others in a similar position to yourself.

I recall seeing such a small-scale abattoir on Gordon Ramsey's F-word a couple of times for his sheep and pigs, and Janet Street-Porters calves. Also on HFW's River Cottage program.

Last edited by Alun; 10-10-2008 at 10:47.
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10-10-2008, 12:11   #12
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Yes the use of an abattoir would probably make more common sense, it is probably the best way to start after learning how to cut the meat.

But I'd imagine it's not a cheap task, I'd imagine there's nearly be a days work in it for someone who knew what they were doing, and probably a charge of a hundred euro or more I'd imagine, if it is then it's still good value but I'd still like to do it all myself at some stage.

Some Butchers can make the kill and do the cleaning don't they, you can bring in injured animals and they will do the lot for you.
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21-10-2008, 15:08   #13
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I intend to spend some Saturday Morning soon in an abattoir. It's something I've wanted to do for a while now, I'd like to learn more about the different cuts of meat and the whole process in general. I've spoken to my local butcher and he doesn't think it would be a problem. I have to speak to his boss now though.

On a side note, I was in 2 separate butchers recently:

1) Asked for some fillet steak, I told him he could give me the tail of the fillet if he wished as it was for stroganoff (I sometimes get a discount as the tail isn't in great demand), he replied with "What the fcuk are you using Fillet Steak in a stroganoff for?"

2) Young chap, 3yrs in the shop, didn't know what offal was. Had heard the term, but didn't know what it was.

I'm not saying this is anything major but do they not still run apprenticeships for butchers?
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22-10-2008, 12:11   #14
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I got a pig slaughtered and butchered last year for 40 or 45 euro. Price depends on what place you use. This is by far the best way to do it. Legality wise you are allowed to home slaughter a pig for your own consumption but only pigs not ANYTHING else. You can not sell or even barter or gift the meat to anybody outside your immediate family.
There are short courses in butchery available too, eg River Cottage (Huhg Fearnley Whittingstall) Ballymaloe runs them every so often too, and I think there is a guy who has started running them in Roscommon.
Incidentally I keep freerange pigs (rarebreed and rarebreed crosses) on the edge of the Burbs in SW Dublin. I will have freerange pork etc available from about the middle of Febuary.

Last edited by breffo; 23-10-2008 at 15:12.
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04-02-2009, 17:20   #15
bryanweb
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Breffo- who was your private butcher?

Breffo - can you please tell us where you got the pig slaughtered? I am out in Kildare and don't know where to start finding a butcher to slaughter and butcher my one pig. Thanks.
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