Sep 16, 2009

Scarce Meat

Taken by Alfred T. Palmer in 1943, this photo was meant to demonstrate the concept of meat rationing in the United States during World War II. Its long caption is worth reproducing in full:

"[E]very single farmer, butcher, or local slaughterer who slaughters and sells meat, is required by law to get a permit from the nearest county War Board of the Department of Agriculture. This permit must be obtained by all who want to slaughter meat after March 31. It can be revoked and taken away from any permit holder who slaughters and sells more meat than the law allows him to under his quota. Every one of these permits will have a number. And the number of every permit holder must be plainly marked on all the primal cuts of the meat he sells. This provides one more way you can spot illegal meat. Permit number (or establishment number) missing? A phony price? An offer to sell without ration points? Watch for any of these signs. They point straight to black market meat." [bold added]

The caption on a related photo reads: "Meat is rationed by the kind and cut as well as by the pound. Every kind and cut has its own point value."

[American Memory link]