Wednesday, 24th April 2019


Abattoir operatives work in abattoirs or slaughterhouses, which specialise in slaughtering livestock and preparing the meat for sale to the food market. Abattoir operatives have the responsibility of making sure that all livestock are treated and killed humanely and that all practices meet health and safety regulations.

Working in an abattoir requires following strict health, safety, hygiene and animal welfare practices. Daily practices of abattoir operatives may vary according to the slaughterhouse, but generally the abattoir operatives will work alongside quality control inspectors and government-approved vets to ensure that all practices are above board.

Typical duties of an abattoir operative may include:

  • Unloading, moving and controlling animals on arrival at the abattoir
  • Stunning animals using specialist equipment and techniques
  • Killing the animals humanely, so that it is as quick and painless as possible
  • Preparing the carcasses for sale, ensuring the meat is not spoiled
  • Packing the meat in separate cartons and packaging
  • Cleaning all surfaces and equipment used

Operatives must follow strict procedures in all aspects of their work. This includes when handling animals, storing carcasses, handling meat and disposing of any waste products. Strict health and safety and hygiene rules must also be followed at all times to avoid accidents caused by machinery or equipment.

It is a job that requires responsibility and physical strength. Abattoir operatives must be comfortable working with both live and dead animals, but must also care about animal welfare so that animals do not suffer. Therefore, an awareness of ethical and legal boundaries is necessary. Work can be tough but there are many opportunities within the food production industry, so with the right training, working in an abattoir can be rewarding.