Jered Standing, owner of ethically minded butcher shop Standing’s, dies at 44

People stand inside a butcher's shop with bagged meat visible on the counter.

A view from March 2020 of Standing’s Butchery, the shop founded by Jered Standing, who died Feb. 22.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Jered Standing, a popular L.A. butcher and a champion of ethical and sustainable meat sourcing, died last week at 44. According to a report from the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner, he was found dead in his home Feb. 22.

In 2017, Standing opened his Hancock Park shop Standing’s Butchery, which quickly became a benchmark for thoughtful sourcing as well as service. It was not uncommon to find Standing behind the counter, recommending cooking techniques for every cut in the meat case or showcasing the latest flavor in his rainbow of house-made sausages.

The former vegetarian built his company on the premise of animal welfare, sourcing directly from farmers who prioritize free-range habitats, heritage breeds and all-grass diets. He exercised a zero-waste program at Standing’s that incorporated scraps, bones and other choice-cut byproducts into the likes of stocks, chili and high-quality dog food and treats. He also taught customers the importance of closed-loop farming and other sustainable practices through intimate butchery classes at the shop and online via his social media channels.

Standing wasn’t always enamored with the trade. An early job at a local grocer exposed the future butcher to factory farming and what he called “the mistreatment of animals” when raised as commodity meats — a large impetus for his years of vegetarianism.

Enacting change, he later felt, could come in the form of more conscious consumerism, and allow for his own return to eating meat.

“Not eating meat doesn’t put any pressure on the industry to change like being a conscious meat eater does,” Standing told Los Angeles Magazine in 2016. “If you don’t eat meat, as a meat seller, you’re just not my customer. But if you’re buying someone else’s meat and not mine — and I’m seeing that — then the pressure’s on me to look at what I’m doing, and why you’re buying from that guy.”

As he set out to learn more about the meat trade and proselytize a more sustainable meat system, he was sleeping in his $500 Toyota Corolla and on a friend’s couch while he found financial footing. A stint in the Whole Foods meat department helped teach him the butcher-shop basics and saw him searching through refrigerated trailers, headlamp on, to find 28- to 30-pound turkeys for customers at Thanksgiving.

He supplemented this education with shifts at Salt’s Cure and watching butchery breakdown videos on YouTube at night, until eventually he became the opening butcher for Belcampo. A few years later he left to open his own business, Standing’s. His Melrose Avenue butcher shop became a beacon for the community, whether it was for his lauded sidewalk burger pop-ups or to help serve Los Angeles throughout the pandemic, especially as big-box retailers were running out of meat and basic pantry essentials.

He had planned to open a Westside butcher shop and had aspirations for a restaurant.

“At best, I hope it’s inspirational,” he wrote of his life’s story in a 2022 Instagram post. “I remember how impossible it seemed when I first set out to open my own business. It seemed that everyone I asked about how they got started already had a bunch of money, or had a rich family member who wrote them a big check. I grew up on the free lunch program at school, and had a string of low paying jobs since I was 15.

“But, by that point, I had already seen how much really hard f— work can actually pay off. Who knew? I’m an ambitious person. As such, I spend a lot of my time focused on the future. Thinking about all that I want and don’t yet have. But occasionally I do allow myself time to look back and reflect. To see how far I’ve come.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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