Government support needed to prevent abattoir closures

A recent National Craft Butchers (NCB) survey has found that 59% of abattoirs expect to close the business within the next 5 years.

NCB, a founding members of the Campaign for Local Abattoirs and the Abattoir Sector Group, surveyed small and local abattoirs throughout England, Scotland, and Wales in March to May this year.

Of the abattoirs surveyed, 70% of owners are aged over 51, with 11% over the age of 66. Two fifths (59%) expect to close the business within the next 5 years if action is not taken, and more than half (56%) do not have a succession plan or someone to take over the business.

The organisation said that the results of its survey have reinforced the urgency of support needed to ensure a successful network of small and local abattoirs continue to operate throughout the UK.

NCB said: “All the respondents are offering private kill and cutting and packing services. Without these, many small and rare breed farmers will be unable to get produce to their customers.

“Increases in one size fits all regulation, loss of income through hides and skins and lack of education on the meat industry as a skilled and attractive career choice is leading to a cliff edge in terms of skilled food business operators.

“We need the government to acknowledge the important role of small abattoirs, to ensure urgent regulatory reviews by DEFRA and FSA are prioritised, to invest in the sector and safeguard it for the future. We believe this should include schemes to attract new generations into the Abattoir sector and meat industry as a whole, but we also need to ensure small businesses are not regulated out of existence.”

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