An Abattoir is essentially a slaughterhouse to provide meat for human consumption. Here cattle, sheep, etc are butchered, cleaned, and packaged in compliance with the food and safety laws dictated by the government and then sent out to various intermediaries and vendors. Similarly, the job of an abattoir worker includes butchering an animal; in a state prescribed manner, cleaning it, and packaging it as per requirements.
What skills do I need for the job of an abattoir worker?
Working as an Abattoir Worker isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There are certain skill-set required for the job. This includes:
Being comfortable surrounded by cattle all day long.
Having experience working with a knife and other related tools
The ability to work with dead animals and clean their waste products
An abattoir worker should be a team player.
Good communication skills
An Abattoir worker should be physically fit and strong enough to handle big animals like cows and buffaloes.
The ability to work efficiently, as well as cut meat with the required precision
Being well versed in state health and safety laws
Keen awareness of food hygiene regulations dictated by the state
Hygiene and cleanliness should be of utmost importance.
Striving to achieve customer satisfaction
Having the discipline to work systematically and follow rules to avoid accidents.
So what are the key duties of an abattoir worker?
Working as an Abattoir Worker involves several key tasks. These include:
Proper managing of sheep, cattle, and other animals in the abattoir
Make sure that these animals are fed properly, and remain healthy.
Cleaning up the abattoir; this includes cattle sheds where they are kept when alive as well as the area where they are slaughtered
Removing the hide of the animal along with its internal organs
Normally the use of saw is quite common especially while splitting the carcasses. Hence an abattoir worker must be comfortable using one.
An abattoir worker is responsible for trimming, de-boning, and slicing the meat.
Dressing and preparing meat according to customer specification is very important for this job.
Ensuring quality work and meeting production deadlines
Able to handle large amounts of work on holidays and events
Washing and preparing the meat as per the stated requirements for further processing.
Packaging activities (these include packaging of the meat itself, the internal organs, etc.)
An abattoir worker’s duty also involves processing the leftover hides and other by-products
Loading and unloading of the meat trucks
They are also responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the meat trucks
Carrying out other related duties assigned by managers, supervisors, or the company itself
Reporting any occurrence or issues concerning machinery or equipment to the respective supervisor or manager.
Seeking training to remain up to date with best practice is another important responsibility of an abattoir worker.
Keeping up to date and working in compliance with law and regulations dictated by the food and hygiene department or by the state.
What sort of working conditions can I expect on the job?
The job of an Abattoir Worker involves working 9 to 5 throughout the week. As a worker, you can expect to get your hands dirty and clothes soiled in blood. Perhaps that is why you are required to wear protective clothing. Also, maintaining one’s hygiene is of utmost importance despite the work environment. You may also be required to try and keep the slaughterhouse as clean as possible, along with being well lit and adequately ventilated.
The work of an abattoir worker is all about slaughtering animals, hence you must be at least 18 years of age. This job doesn’t require any formal education but getting certified in meat processing, meat boning, and trimming helps in moving up the ladder. Apart from this, you must familiarize yourself with the laws dictated by the food and hygiene department in your state.
What about salary and prospects?
Working as an Abattoir Worker, one can expect to earn around $15 an hour. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates an average annual salary of $61,000 while working as an abattoir worker.
Since meat is something that always remains in demand for consumption. There will always be room for the job of an abattoir worker. However, it’s wise to begin with an apprenticeship. After gaining exposure, one can move up towards becoming an abattoir manager.