Why we love our butchers

People love to say "know your farmer"

But we think it's just as important that your farmer knows your butcher!

Our butchers are critical to what we do - they're literally the only people other than me and Jesse who ever handle your beef. 

And the difference between a small butcher and the giant corporate meatpackers, is as stark as the contrast between Dirty Dog Farm and a Feedlot.

Here's a recent example...

Just last week, the USDA allowed a major Cargill plant to have their own workers perform critical safety inspections instead of a USDA Inspector.

Typically, the Inspector is there for two main reasons:

1) to make sure every animal is slaughtered humanely

2) to be sure that the first step after slaughter, removing the organs, is done safely and without contamination of the meat

The USDA Inspector is YOUR representative in the plant, making sure the safety of animals, workers, and consumers is Priority #1 at the most important moment of the process.

This role is critical at any plant, but this isn't just any plant.

The processing plant in question harvests 4,500 cattle EVERY DAY.

That's roughly 1 to 1.2 million per year. Which is ~3.5% of the cattle harvested annually in the USA. 

When a plant is harvesting 1 out of every 30 cows in the country, the potential damage from a single mistake is enormous. Contamination from a single animal can wind up in ground beef all over the country.

Allowing a massive corporation to self police, is an obvious conflict of interest, and in this case it could be deadly.

We've seen the tragic results of self-regulation in industries as diverse as aviation, energy drilling/mining, and banking.

And this particular model has already failed IN THE MEATPACKING INDUSTRY! 

Food & Water Watch Senior Attorney Zach Corrigan notes, "Pork plants that switched to this system saw a two-fold increase in violations for contamination of fecal matter and digestive contents."

To ignore these lessons and expand a deregulatory program that risks public health, is ghoulish corporate cronyism at its worst. And it's just starting, as this is a pilot plant for a program intended to roll out across the industry.

Widespread implementation of these practices is dangerous, and it shifts power further towards the four meatpacking companies that control 85% of beef in the USA. 

As Corrigan rightly notes "consumers are already wrestling with the high prices due to industry consolidation," and now "the USDA is asking consumers to jeopardize their health.”

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So, when you're making food choices don't forget about the importance of steps like processing. 

When you buy from a small farm you're supporting (and in the care of) a chain of small businesses, run by real people, who care about their customers, community, and the quality of their work. 

I feel better knowing that our meat was processed by a team of people I know and trust, not by a corporation that makes safety decisions based on how much they can afford in legal fees and fines.
 
-Josh