A butcher is a person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat or do any combination of these three tasks. They may prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments. A butcher may be employed by supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops and fish markets or may be self-employed. An ancient trade, whose duties may date back to the domestication of livestock, butchers formed guilds in England as far back as 1272. Today, many jurisdictions offer trade certifications for butchers. Some areas expect a three-year apprenticeship followed by the option of becoming a master butcher. Butchery is a traditional work. In the industrialized world, slaughterhouses use butchers (slaughtermen, in British English) to slaughter the animals, performing one or a few of the steps repeatedly as specialists on a semiautomated disassembly line.
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