John Mettrick is a butcher and small abattoir owner in Derbyshire and President of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT). Following his contribution to our recent report, A Good Life and a Good Death: Re-localising Farm Animal Slaughter, and his appearance on Countryfile, the NFMFT have now put out a press release endorsing many of the key SFT recommendations.

Following NFMFT President John Mettrick’s appearance on BBC’s flagship rural affairs programme Countryfile, the Derbyshire butcher has today written to Environment Secretary Michael Gove. He urges him to help cut costs and red tape for low throughput rural abattoirs to support animal welfare and the short supply chain of the farmer to the butcher to the customer.

Writing on behalf of independent craft butchers and slaughterers in England and Wales. Mr Mettrick seeks government action in finding a long-term future for the rapidly diminishing network of small local slaughterhouses. Which are often seen as being best for animal welfare reducing stress due to the short distances that stock travel and their low throughput.

As a butcher and small slaughterhouse operator the National President appreciates that public confidence resulting from high animal welfare standards is vital. He reminds Mr Gove the sector experiences difficulties caused by over-regulation, poor by-product prices and increasing waste removal costs.

Noting the bill introducing compulsory CCTV in English abattoirs is before Parliament. Mr Mettrick says installing CCTV costing around £10k could lead to small abattoirs closing. He asks the government to consider making the veterinary ante-mortem inspection in low throughput plants the responsibility of the operator where supported with CCTV will reduce the regulatory burden and cut costs both for operators and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

John Mettrick says removal of veterinary ante-mortem inspection will not diminish food safety or animal welfare. This is backed up by FSA 2014 statistics published in the latest report from the Sustainable Food Trust. He reminds Michael Gove about France where flexibilities available under EU Regulation 854/2004 are interpreted to allow the initial ante-mortem inspection to be carried out by Official Auxiliaries (OA’s) and verified only when necessary by official veterinary inspection.

John Metric suggests, “Long supply chains despite being supported with reams of paperwork are susceptible to fraud or error as evidenced by various incidents. The Federation will be happy to work with the government to find ways to support small abattoirs, reduce regulatory burdens and help establish a meat inspection system proportional to risk and not just rule-based.”

  • The NFMFT represents independent craft butchers, meat processors, farm shops and specialist food retailers throughout England and Wales, organises craft product and skills competitions and is committed to training and working with partners providing apprenticeships.
  • For more information contact Roger Kelsey on 07984 958515 or Jayne Cottrell at NFMFT, 1 Belgrove, Tunbridge Wells, KENT TN1 1YW; telephone 01892 541412 or email:

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