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Do you care where your meat comes from?

June 7th, 2010
04:32 PM ET

A small butcher shop in Brooklyn, New York is revolutionizing the shopping experience for customers by giving them an opportunity to see where their meat is coming from before they buy it.

The innovative idea is called the “Greenmarket” movement and it is allowing shoppers to not only buy their own cuts of meat, but to also be their very own butcher.

“People want to be close their food, they want to be close their meat and they want to be close to the people that produce it and provide it,” butcher Tom Mylan said.

The move by butchers to show customers their meat before it’s sold is an attempt to educate the public, according to butcher Harry Rosenblum.

“If you go to a supermarket and you're buying pork chops on a foam tray, you can't ask questions of anybody about how that meat was raised, what part of the animal that actually is,” Rosenblum said.

“And so attending something like our pig butchering class where you get to watch the butchers take apart an entire animal and come to understand the anatomy of that animal allows you to you can be a more educated consumer.”

It’s unclear whether the classes will take off, but here's your chance to tell us what you think.

Would you attend a class to find out where your meat came from and how it was dissected? Do you care how you get your meat?

Please leave your comments below and be sure to include where you’re writing from.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Michael

    When I found out where meat came from, I became a vegetarian. That was 32 years ago,

    June 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  2. Paul from St. Paul, MN

    I would attend the class. I would like to learn more about different cuts of meat. I would also like to know more about how the animal was raised. I don't have a problem with eating meat, but I'd prefer the animal was treated well while alive.

    June 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  3. Keira

    All I care about is that my meat is top quality and safe to consume. The rest of the process? Not so much! Obviously, we have ideas of what happens but the nitty gritty I don't need to know about. The class certainly sounds interesting, but nah. I think I pass!


    June 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  4. Janet

    This article is very misleading.

    99% of meat comes from factory farms, so if carnivores shopping at a butcher shop were browsing while videos played revealing the unspeakable horrors, brutal suffering, and torture to which factory-farmed animals are subjected, people of conscience wouldn't touch it.

    One wonders if butcher Harry Rosenblum saw the video released last week of the Conklin dairy farm in Ohio. It revealed the routine torture of cows and calves by pathological sadists. Tragically, this is the rule not the exception.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  5. carl botha

    Paul, no offence, but up to what stage do you want the animal "to be treated well" before he (the animal) is killed?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  6. Anthony

    Great Idea.

    my career profession is Culinary Arts and it's one of the most important comodities in a consumers market that is way to often not understood.

    Just don't use pigs the Mulslim community will go crazy and say your discriminating them by doing things that go against there beliefs lol.

    And to all the vegetarians. the way meat is processed in factorys is really gross but ALL forms of food have been genetically modified unless your buying from a farmers market everytime. and even then the Markets have to be approved to be sold. so really who cares.
    Enjoy your Soya beans and Salad. Ribs and Steak is on my menu.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  7. Trevor

    I've always wanted to be a butcher. I will defiantly take the class.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  8. Bogotabye

    Interesting that all of the adults and many of the children in the video are overweight. By the time it gets to a butcher shop it's pretty sanitary, for a real challenge, take students to the slaughter house and feed lot.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  9. Janet

    Hey Anthony,

    Regarding your brag "...steak is on my menu", are you aware that 17% of global warming emissions are produced by livestock?

    Do you care, or do you just enjoy living in your own little world oblivious to the impact of your dietary choices?

    June 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  10. Hamza Miller

    As Muslims we already have the ability to see our animals pre-slaughter and see that they are treated and killed humanely. I think if the general American populace saw how their chicken farms and cow farms were run they would start to demand the same food regulations Islam has had in place for 1300 years. Your animals are fed each other, each other's waste, they are often shocked before they are killed. They are caged in tiny cages, not allowed to roam so they don't build muscle, and other disgusting practices. Zhabiha practices demand not allowing other animals to see each other die, that the animal is fed and kept properly before slaughter, that the animal is separated from the rest of the animals on the day of slaughter and given food and water, calmed, then killed with an extremely sharp knife cutting the veins and arteries in the neck so that the animal bleeds out quickly. If you have ever cut yourself with a razor sharp knife you know there is really not much pain associated with this and with the blood draining quickly death is quite sudden.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  11. Jesse

    I find it hilarious how people are disgusted at how animals are raised and slaughtered in mass quantities. Animals are food people,! We just so happen to be at the top of the chain and there are a lot of us.

    I hear a lot of complaining about "factory farms" due to them being "brutal and inhumane" but no real solutions as to how to provide the nation with a sufficient supply of meat.

    I also find it hilarious how people are so uneducated when it comes to the actual killing and butchering of animals. I guess not everyone can grow up in Iowa.....

    June 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  12. Mario Sanchez

    So, Michael ... where DID you think meat came from before you wussed out and became a vegetarian?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  13. Erin

    It doesn't matter where it comes from, there's only one thing you can ever know for sure:

    There is NO SUCH THING as humane meat, dairy or eggs.

    Knowing the animal's ID #, what farm she came from, and whether or not some agency has listed that farm as "Humane" or some other variation of the same hokum will not change the following:

    The animal is forced, through genetics and artificial methods, "perform" unnaturally.

    The animal suffered. Chickens, for example, are hung on a conveyor belt by their legs and dragged over an electric stunner. As you can imagine this is neither a flawless nor kind approach. Many legs are broken (ever wonder how that drumstick was snapped before it ever got in the package?), and many chickens squirm just enough to avoid being rendered unconscious by the stunner before they are immersed in boiling hot water to loosen their feathers.

    The animal died, and often not in an expedient fashion. The rate of failed captive bolt stunning is astronomical! Imagine being wide awake when your throat is slit.

    The raising, killing and processing of that animal has deranged many human minds, causing violence and direct cruelty to both animals and other humans. In fact, that's in the news yet again – a hate crime perpetrated by a deranged poultry processing plant worker!

    No matter what pastoral image a farm presents, and no matter how well the animal is treated, they still die. Badly. It's ugly.

    You're feeding your children death and pain, not sunlight on green meadows.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  14. kate

    i happen to like meat. my fav. is a good steak. i personally prefer to buy my meat from a well established grocery store that i know is clean and has safe product. i do not care what they had to do to get the product to me..

    ok so you gave up meat when you found out how the animal was processed. now what do you do for your complete protein?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  15. owen

    I grew up on a farm so I know where the different cuts of meat come from. Personally I think something like this is pretty useless. What is really needed is for people to be forced to see how livestock is raised and slaughtered – large flat-screens TVs above the meat counters would do the trick.
    At this point people might begin to demand that livestock actually be allowed to live a life somewhat closer to what nature intended – novel things like cows eating grass and pigs and chickens seeing sunlight.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  16. mastarula

    it's a good idea, i like this story.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  17. Rush

    I am not a vegetarian, but I think that diet works well for many people. Their faces glow and they really seem happier and healthier to me. I think young children should not be vegetarians as they need the protein. I have tried to stop eating meat a few times, but all it takes is one whiff of a BBQ and I feel the need to eat bacon, get a quarter pounder, or enjoy a steak with mushrooms and onions. It really is an addiction. I suspect as land gets scarcer, and petroleum disappears, the era of ranching large animals for food will become impractical, or even illegal.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  18. Mickey

    Sadly, I already know not just the butchering part but also how these animals are raised and treated, and that is why I do not eat meat. On the larger scale, I do not have any illusions that most humans would become vegetarians – too violent and too selfish of all animals.
    For them I usually offer at least this point: Animals do not have a fundamental right not to be eaten, but they do have a fundamental right not to be tortured.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  19. Bruce

    I'm a meat eater, I admit it. The saying "you are what you eat" does come to mind however. I would like to see better, more humane practices put in place for livestock raising. One wonders what the price of meat would be then though?? Probably couldn't afford it. Is "organic" meat any better these days? Do they still raise the animals the same what but just feed them differently?

    June 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  20. Ruth Zahnd

    Yes, I do. I only buy organic meat and I know where the meat comes from. I drive an hour and a half to the farm just so I know that the meat is not from a slaughter house in China.

    June 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  21. Eddie

    Gotta feed the people. There's too many people already. Vegetarians are no better. Acres of land flattened and all species that lived there gone. Pesticides from Monsanto poisoning the soil, and water. Bugs are bugs and pesticides don't care which it kills, good or bad.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  22. Joan Stuchner

    I care that animals live a comfortable life before being slaughtered humanely to provide us with meat. Animals that are killed according to kashrut, as well as halal butchering, ensures that death is swift. More of us are becoming aware that this is not enough, and that animals must not only not suffer a cruel death, but also not suffer a cruel life.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  23. Cameron

    To Hamza Miller, regarding your comment that throat-slitting is “humane”

    Don’t delude yourself. Slitting the throat of a fully conscious animal is barbaric. Check-out this video filmed at the Postiville ,Iowa slaughterhouse where cows are slaughtered via throat-slitting. Watch the agony of the cows whose throats have been slit and then get back to us about how humane it is.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  24. Micah

    Kosher and Halal butchering is violent and cruel.

    What a tragedy that animals by the countless millions daily are slaughtered in this manner because people cling to a ridiculous belief system based on the Jewish Book of Fairy Tales.

    Animals shouldn't suffer in this manner because of human-fabricated mythologies.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  25. Esther

    To those posting that Halal slaughter is humane:

    Perhaps you should view one of those online decapitation videos posted by your fellow Muslims.

    Do you hear the screaming by the victim as his throat is being slit? Does that sound humane to you? Does it sound painless?

    Stop deluding yourself that Kosher and Halal slaughter is animal-friendly.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  26. Waldemar

    I raise my own chickens and rabbits. They have a good life out in the green.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  27. blasee

    bad for the meat industry. because the wusses will stop buying.

    June 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  28. Bethany

    I have been a Vegetarian for 8 years and recently a Vegan, due to the corrupt politics behind food, the method of slaughter itself as well as the government hiding the studies that prove the negative affects of meat.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  29. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello CNN friends,

    In order to STOP CANCER, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU EAT! These butcher classes are also good to inspire people to become a butcher and to Cook & Serve Health Food for Themselves and for Our Children!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Paramaribo, Suriname

    June 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  30. John

    After watching a video on factory farming, I gave up meat that day! Yea it was tough for about 2 weeks, but that passed and now 7 years later I don't crave meat or care to ever eat it again. I am far healthier now, and feel a lot younger and stronger.
    For those of you who say, how do you get complete protein. Well there are many sources, lentils for one and there are many others. People need 8 esential amino acids same as dogs, cats on the other hand need 9 essential amino acids and are true carnivores dogs can be omnivore same as people. Meat is cruel as is dairy and most eggs are cruel, I eat eggs but I have pet chickens and eat their eggs occasionally, so I can't say that is cruel because they are pets and they get to live a long happy life unlike the cruel factory farmed eggs. Try going veg for a few weeks, you will feel better and live healthier, even if you cut back you will be helping the planet. Get educated on the veg diet you will thank yourself in the long run.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  31. lloyd

    Consumers have the right to know where their products are coming from. As consumers, we are given the right to choose what products we decide to consume. As a result, Information should be transparent to the fullest. This is the proper law of Adam Smith's "Free Market Capitalism". This is the way that America should be. A place where consumers know how when where and why their products are being produced.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  32. bryan

    meat idealy are good depending on how u prepare and preserve it, but generally the western world are the ones having problem with whatever meat, while the africans , particularly nigerians cooks their meat properly with good spicing.. we cannot avoid meat really...bryan from spain

    June 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  33. Michael B.

    What is worse, eating factory produced meat instead of organically raised animals or eating organic meat instead of no meat at all?

    June 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  34. gipsy

    Janet speaks for me. Factory Farms is where it all, sadly, begins.

    If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
    – Francis of Assisi

    June 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  35. Texnbelle

    I am a Texan living in Bavaria. I live on a street with 4 dairy farms with cows and chickens, etc. The cows live free in the fields and are brought in every night for safety and milked the next morning and let out again.
    The chickens run free and the farmers feed and provide shelter to both the cows and the chickens better than many people eat and live in this world. We hand-pick our eggs from the stalls at our neighbors. The chickens aren't bothered a bit.
    We have local butchers that operate under very strict laws and sanitary codes. I have seen my butcher cut and vacuum-pack all of the meat I buy from him.
    Free range cows and chickens are the only way meat should be produced and sold. These animals are domesticated and would die in the wild or live in horrendous conditions if neglected and not kept well. Cows and chickens and other domesticated animals depend upon people to care for them or they are sick and become overpopulated.
    It is the government's responsibility to regulate these things. We cannot leave individuals up to themselves to live by their own standards, because some people cannot be trusted to run their businesses the right way.
    If it costs more to buy meat that is free range, I would pay more. I would like to see the mass meat producers shut down. Meat simply cannot be produced the same way canned vegetables are produced. If you can't or won't pay for fresh meat from a local butcher, become a vegetarian.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  36. Sam

    Fear makes the meat taste better. I like the idea of animals suffering horribly before I consume them. The wafting smell of death and abject horror from the slaughterhouses should encourage the survivors to climb the food chain a few rungs or develop special skills or endearing, charming anthropomorphic traits to entertain us. Don't want to be consumed? Learn to walk on your hind legs or get a friggin' spider to weave accolades in a web for you. Can't do that? Close your eyes, this will only hurt for an instant.

    The truth is, the animal dies either way. Playing humanely with your food is rather sick in and unto itself, simply because it assuages your sense of carnivorous guilt, but in the end, the creature still winds up on your plate. Somebody needs to find another adjective–there is no "humane" way to consume another creature.

    Dam, this bloggin' making me hungry. I think I'll go get a super bucket of genetically modified, but-oh-so-tasty when barbequed, terror-fed thighs and breasts.

    Bon appetit!!

    June 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  37. JJ

    The meat comes from the same place you come from. Get over it. When was the last time a vegetarian was a good host to a meat-eater and served him/her a good steak along with the green stuff? But vegetarians seem to think that everyone needs to cater to their phobias. Weird.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  38. James, Saskatchewan

    That is an amazing idea! I grew up on a beef farm in Canada. All our cattle roam open fields until they are sold. An understanding of how the meat is produced will help people better respect the industry and maybe even their own health.

    There are many studies which suggest one thing or another. Please feel free to read this one as it may be food for thought : )


    June 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  39. Samain

    I prefer meat from the butcher shop. It has more flavor and generally last longer than store bought meat. Also have no problems with seeing my food processed at the butcher shop. Would rather spend my money on small farm meat. They tend to care more for their animals than the huge companies that squeeze as much beef, pork, or chicken into as little space as possible.

    My wife's parents live on a small farm and its nice to see the cattle out in the green fields and chickens out in the yard. They are up before dawn to milk and feed the cattle and spent most of the evening tending them as well. It's a hard but honest life...

    June 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  40. The Wise one

    To have great sex, you need to eat meat and egg, folks …… Or if you rather choose to be celibate, vegetarianism is the preferable path.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  41. cwm

    this is a GREAT Way for People to understand what they might want to eat or not... but; I Love hamburgers the Best!

    June 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  42. Chana

    The reality is – is that ALL meat that ends up on your plate comes from an animal that was slaughtered before the end of its natural life span. The reality is is that these are sentient creatures who no more want to die than we do.

    Your eggs come from chickens who can be confined six to a cage the size of Time magazine cover. Who never even get a chance to stretch their wings for their entire life. "Organic" eggs doesn't mean that a chicken can't be "debeaked" or starved into molting.

    For those who "don't care" – well, to quote Albert Schweitzer: "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."

    Most people (in this country) wouldn't eat their dogs or cats....but they think nothing of eating other creatures that are just as gentle, funny, intelligent and affable as the pets they cuddle on the couch with.

    By the way, to the folks who are SO worried about their "protein". We don't suffer from a "protein shortage" in this country in our diets – however, we DO suffer from high cholesterol, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity and a host of other diet-induced and -related ills. Why don't you bring up THOSE issues? The protein "issue" is a complete red-herring.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  43. Tom

    We live in a great country where we pay less of our disposable income on food than any other nation in the world, by far, meat especially. There are hundreds of thousands of farmers, ranchers and processors out there who work everday to ensure we have the safest, most abundant and most affordable meat and poultry on the planet. Their animals are their livlihoods and have been for generations and in most cases, the livestock get fed before they even feed their kids in the morning.

    If you want to go back to early 1900s food production methods then we'll have to go back to early 1900s population numbers. But we're not going to feed a world expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050 with New York City terrace gardens.

    The beauty of it is if you prefer organic and it makes you feel better and can afford it, you can find it. If you prefer turkey hot dogs, they are available. If you would like a soy hamburger, its there.

    June 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  44. Becky

    Personally, I do care about the meat I eat. I begame a vegetarian for that exact reason. I should say vegetarian for lack of a better word however. I will eat meat if the animal has been humanely treated and killed. For example, an old friend of mine used to hunt deer and took care to kill the deer quickly and with as little pain as possible. I would be happy to eat that deer meat. I also will eat meat from stores if they have the proper certification stating that the animal was treated humanely and inspected by a 3rd party group. I would love to become vegan, but my current situation in life (college student) does not allow for that at this time. I'm from Pittsburgh PA and I'm one of many who diet in this way.

    June 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  45. Joey Bag-O-Donuts

    Definitely would attend. I echo some sentiments here – There's a very good chance if I did attend, I may forego meat altogether, but still, I'd go.

    June 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Reply

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