Swansea family butcher lives on

A Swansea-based butcher is sticking to family tradition by keeping Hugh Phillips Butchers alive. 

After helping her father for over a decade, Catherine Butler (pictured) has officially taken the reins of the property. On 27 February, she received Food Standards Agency approval, signifying that she is now fully responsible for the business, rather than operating under a provisional licence.

The family firm, which dates back to 1878, boasts its own abattoir. This means that all of the meat it sells can be traced right back to which farm a particular animal came from.

“I enjoy being able to select the very best animals so that we have the best possible product to process and sell,” said Butler. “My focus is on upholding the quality standards, with great care taken at every stage of the process.”

As she takes the helm of the business, she plans to expand its customer reach by offering an online mail order service, which is aiming to go live soon.

“It’s exciting and daunting to be taking over here,” she added. “I’ve helped my father out since I was about six, when I used to stand on a crate to help dice meat. As soon as I was old enough to see over the counter, I was allowed to help out on the market stall.

“I achieved my slaughtering licence in 2008, but was working in the abattoir well before that as a labourer.”

Moving forward, Butler said she was keen to find women in a similar position to herself, to share experiences. “Being a woman in a man’s world is normal to me, but it would be nice to come to work and see another girl.

“The vets who come here say they haven’t encountered another woman in this role: they have seen women operatives, but not slaughterwomen. I’m not sure why there aren’t more women in this job, but it can very physically heavy and demanding work. I’d be interested to find out if there are any more women out there in a similar role.”

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