A butcher works with a variety of knives, hand tools, power equipment like mincers and mixers and computer operated machinery to prepare and sell meat and meat products. They work in shops and meat preparation rooms. Their work involves a lot of contact with people and they must have a strong stomach as there is a lot of exposure to raw meat, blood and animal products.
A butcher can expect to produce both fresh and cooked meat products like ham, sausages, mince and bacon. Butchers will usually purchase meat directly from an abattoir, independant supplier or wholesaler. They will then prepare and present the meat for sale to their customers, who include caterers and restaurant employees as well as members of the public. According to the Red Meat Industry Forum, an estimated 70% of meat is sold through supermarkets and only 12-15% is sold through traditional butchers.
A butcher's main role and responsibilities will depend on the type of butchery performed. In a traditional setting the butcher is normally equally involved in meat preparation, ordering and serving customers, though in a larger shop or supermarket the roles are more likely to be specialised. Some typical duties include sourcing and buying stock, storing meat correctly (at the right temperature etc.), preparing the meat by plucking, skinning or boning and weighing meat for customers. They may also offer advice on suitable cuts and cooking techniques.