Get out your knives and prepare to get blood on your clothes: more Americans are learning how to butcher their own meat.

Cooking enthusiasts and eco-conscious food lovers are signing up for classes where they learn how to carve up whole hogs, lambs and other farm animals, the latest trend among foodies who want a closer connection to the meaty morsels on their forks.

On a recent evening in San Francisco, a dozen men and women met at a rental kitchen in the Mission District to break down a 170-lb. hog under the guidance of Ryan Farr, one of a new breed of "artisan butchers" who are bringing the art of butchery to the meat-loving masses.

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