My world geographically separates agrarian from urban centers. A large caravan (hundreds of different 'farmers') travels to the cities every harvest, to sell their goods. The caravan is over a month in length, with the first and last weeks being in the wilderness between cities and farmland. The farmers need to eat. I like the idea that those on the caravan that are bringing livestock to the cities would also act as butchers during the traveling part of the venture. So, in the middle of nowhere, livestock runners have a sweet deal because they have hundreds of hungry farmers to feed.
I've gotten some great ideas from the silk road history, but I don't see anything about livestock being transported for trade and slaughter. It would be messy, en route, and butchering a calf and roasting it may take an unreasonably long time.
Preserved meats, or chicken, could be easier.
This question may be trivial, but I keep wondering if the image in my head of a wagon of livestock, being slaughtered and eaten by the people on the caravan, makes logistical sense.
Would a 'silk road' type caravan butcher and prepare livestock for food, en route?
edit: My world has changed slightly based on feedback here and elsewhere. One city has a river delta and others have poor agriculture, so there is ship-based transport between cities with which they can limp by. The caravan focuses somewhat more heavily on supplies that are more 'exotic' than food. This includes drugs (e.g. weed) and alcohol. The caravan is also a means for the farmers to acquire goods in the city.
I appreciate the feedback throughout.