Small abattoirs are essential in the supply chain of high quality, fully traceable British meat. Yet they are being forced to close for reasons beyond their control, despite strong and increasing demand for their services. A further seven have closed during the last year. There are now just 62 left in the UK, with less than 50 of these in England. This is increasingly leaving parts of the country lacking the provision of a local abattoir.

According to Defra, direct payments account for 94% and 91% respectively of the profit of lowland and upland grazing livestock farms in England. Beef and sheep farmers are, therefore, expected to be hit hard by the phasing out of basic payments. Being able to add value through direct sales of meat will become even more important than it is already for the survival of such farms from next year.

However, none of this is possible without a small abattoir within an economically viable distance. Since those who market their meat locally generally need only a small number of animals slaughtered at a time, the economical transport distances for the live animals and meat are much shorter than for large loads of animals going to large slaughterhouses. We are therefore asking members of the House of Lords to consider supporting Lord Trees’ amendment to include ‘slaughtering’ in the list of ancillary services carried out for producers as detailed in section 1, 1, 1 (2b) and (5) of the Agriculture Bill.

Read the full  briefing here.

Read more about the Campaign for Local Abattoirs here.

Read the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare report here.

Photograph: UK Parliament

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