Glossary Of Terms.

As part of an ongoing initiative to promote transparency, openness and education, we at Bespoke Craft Butchers have decided to take it upon ourselves to create a glossary of terms to help promote the understanding of some of the important issues surrounding animal agriculture. These are how we as a business choose to define each of the following and hopefully give a clearer understanding of our labelling practices, how we source our products, and places an emphasis on what we’re striving to achieve. 


Antibiotic Free - An animal was raised throughout its entire lifespan without the use of any therapeutic or subtherapeutic antibiotics

Battery Cages - A series of small cages, usually not much bigger then the animal being housed; with shared dividing walls, floors and roofs. Most often used in large scale egg laying facilities.

Breaking - A butcher’s term for cutting a whole animal, or in the case of cows, the primal cuts, into smaller pieces that are the rough cuts for merchandising.

Carcass - The whole animal after it has been slaughtered and eviscerated.

Cage-Free - Was raised without the use of battery cages or gestation crates at any point during an animal's life.

Certified Organic - A certification program monitored and upheld by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Organic Products Regulation (OPR) where a minimum of 95 percent or more of a given product is organic content. Is also accompanied by the 'Canada Organic' Logo.

Chicken Tractor - A large wooden box frame that has protective steel meshing around the outside and top, but has no floor. Sometimes with wheels and a half shaded roof. Used to protect chickens from predators while out at pasture and is moved throughout the day to allow chickens fresh areas of Pasture. Also see: Pasture-Raised.

Chine Bone - A term that refers to the spinal chord that runs through the centre of an animal.

Connective Tissue - A rough term that refers to any part of a carcass that isn’t muscle or bone.

Farrowing Crate - A type of pig enclosure that allows mother pigs to lay down and breast-feed newly born piglets, with a separate smaller enclosure for piglets to roam slightly on either side.

Forequarter - The front leg and half body after a mammal has been split in half through the spine and again through the ribs crossways. Most often the term is used to refer to beef but can be used to refer any mammal.

Free-Range - An animal was raised where outdoor access was provided at any point during its life cycle, where it could roam and graze outdoors. The length of time access is required, and size of space are not regulated. As such, free-range is not a term used at Bespoke Craft Butchers.

Gestation Crate - A tight metal enclosure, similar to a battery cage; where sows (female pigs) are kept during pregnancy in large-scale industrial farms. Typically, pigs that are used for breeding are used solely for breeding and not for meat production and as such are continually pregnant. The only time outside of a gestation crate would be spent inside a farrowing crate.

Grass Fed - Fed a natural diet that will largely contain unselected grasses, where no additional feed has been used and the animal forages for its own food.

Heritage Breed - A domesticated species of animal that was bred to adapt to a specific region or environmental conditions, but has become less favourable due to the modern stresses of industrialized agriculture. 

Hindquarter - The back leg and half body after a mammal has been split in half through the spine and again through the ribs crossways. Most often the term is used to refer to beef but can be used to refer any mammal.

Hot Weight - The total weight of a carcass immediately after it has been processed. In the case of mammals this is before being chilled and is the purchase weight before being dry-aged.

Locavore - A person that puts an emphasis on buying food from their local community and grown and/or raised locally.  

Pasture-Raised - A term used to describe chickens to denote the method of raising.  The chicken spends the days in a field, being moved throughout the day inside a chicken tractor, with full access to sunlight and a natural diet such as grasses, weeds, seeds and bugs. Their diet is subsidized with some plant-based feed and is sheltered during the night inside a barn or shed.

Primal - The largest cuts of meat that are handled prior to being trimmed for merchandising.

Side - Half of the carcass that has been split through the chine bone.

Subtherapeutic Antibiotic - An antibiotic that has been used to routinely as a daily or weekly regimen for the purpose of preventing illness and allowing that animal to be raised in an environment that may otherwise cause substantial health risks. Additionally, antibiotic use promotes faster weight gain and shorter life cycles for large-scale operations.

Therapeutic Antibiotic - An antibiotic that has been used to treat a specific condition or ailment, after an animal has been assessed by a veterinarian.

Note: This list will continue to be updated, so please check back on a regular basis.