Animals / Book Reviews / Non-Fiction

Book Review: “Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering” by Adam Danforth


My Rating (****)

The inclusion of meat as a regular part of diet not only determined the behavioural patterns of the early hominids but also directed the course of human evolution. While the precise path through which the earliest tool technologies emerged is not known, the experimental studies show that a majority of these stone tools were clearly developed for hunting and butchering of the animals. Even if it was easy enough to kill a creature for the earlier hominids, the real problem lied in how to get through the skin and divide up the meat. This led to the emergence of various types of stone tools. While a number of these tools were crude and unsophisticated, these solved the major problems of skinning and dividing up the meat. Gradually we see a refinement in these stone tools as these tools have become smaller but better. At a later stage of human evolution, these stone tools are replaced by the metal tools which took the butchering to another level. Now, humans had the advantage of having so many types of sophisticated tools and these metal tools slowly but surely modified the ways the humans used to butcher an animal earlier on. However, while meat is an important part of diet of many people today, how many of us know the correct way to butcher an animal? It is on this background; this book can be cherished and valued.

The book tells us how to prepare animals for slaughter, how to set up a slaughtering and butchering area, and how to select the tools and equipment one will need to ensure a successful slaughtering. Most importantly, this book tells us how to stun and bleed the animal with the certainty that they experience the least amount of pain and discomfort in these final moments of their life. However, this book is not only about telling us the ins and outs of slaughtering but the bulk of this book focuses on the resulting carcasses. Each animal has been treated separately and a wide range of approaches has been explained to break down the carcass and also for cutting. This helps readers to maximise the usage of different carcass we process. While all animals share similar anatomical structures, it is always better to understand shapes of different animals and most importantly the intersection of muscles and the plane of connective tissues. An entire chapter in the book has been devoted to food safety and what people can do to preserve the meat. The book also explains how slaughtering affects the quality of the meat produced. It makes the readers ensure to that the meat they produce is nourishing.

The author has done a great job. Each and every step of the butchering process has been explained with the help of photographs, which definitely add quality to the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of meat science.

(I received this book from Storey Publishing through NetGalley. The book is expected to release on 11th March 2014)

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