A feisty vegetarian since age 12, Berlin Reed was a self-described “punk” who swore to abstain from supporting corporations that he believed profited from mistreating animals, abusing labor practices and “destroying” the environment.

“I have ‘vegan’ tattooed on my neck,” said Reed, 29. “You could say I was a little passionate about it.”

Today, however, he’s known as “the ethical butcher,” a title which might seem odd for someone whose friends once arranged a “bacon intervention” to sway him to omnivorism. “It wasn’t a moment of weakness,” Reed said of the switch; instead it was motivated by his realization that, as a butcher, he was in a position to affect the industry he once protested. Reed holds that the butchery trade, in constant contact with customers, is the key to a better and more sustainable meat system. [Read more]