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Slaughterer and Meat Packer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Works in slaughtering, meat packing, or wholesale establishments performing precision functions involving the preparation of meat. Work may include specialized slaughtering tasks, cutting standard or premium cuts of meat for marketing, making sausage, or wrapping meats.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Food Products and Processing Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Removes bones, and cuts meat into standard cuts in preparation for marketing.
  • Severs jugular veins to drain blood and facilitate slaughtering.
  • Tends assembly lines, performing a few of the many cuts needed to process a carcass.
  • Shackles hind legs of animals to raise them for slaughtering or skinning.
  • Slits open, eviscerates, and trims carcasses of slaughtered animals.
  • Stuns animals prior to slaughtering.
  • Skins sections of animals or whole animals.
  • Cuts, trims, skins, sorts, and washes viscera of slaughtered animals to separate edible portions from offal.
  • Shaves or singes and defeathers carcasses, and washes them in preparation for further processing or packaging.
  • Saws, splits, or scribes carcasses into smaller portions to facilitate handling.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Boning Room Worker --
  • Meat Packager --
  • Meat Packer --
  • Meat Processor --
  • Meat Trimmer --
  • Meat Wrapper --
  • Production Worker --
  • Saw Man --
  • Side Puller --
  • Wrapper --