The job of a butcher is to supervise the slaughter of the most common livestock species and birds for human consumption. The butcher is responsible for the execution and management of specialized tasks such as anesthesia, killing, skinning, trimming and processing of slaughter products.

A butcher must also be able to organize the transport and reception of slaughter animals to the slaughterhouse in accordance with laws concerning animal protection, safety, quality, hygiene and disease control.

Main tasks

• ensuring that slaughter and work methods are in accordance with laws and regulations
• monitoring treatment of meat after slaughtering
• coarse cutting and placing meat in storage
• health and quality assessment of meat

Competence requirements

A butcher must be well acquainted with the handling and slaughter of slaughter animals, the equipment of abattoirs and the handling of equipment and tools related to the job. As a butcher, you need to know how to handle meat after slaughter, cooling and freezing and know the effect of these factors on shelf life and quality.


The butcher’s course is a two-year study program at the secondary school level. Meat processing is taught at Menntaskólinn í Kópavogi and Verkmenntaskólinn á Akureyri.

Validation of prior learning has taken place and/or may be available.

Meat processing
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