At the Oxford Real Farming conference 2019, the Campaign for Local Abattoirs and the Sustainable Food Trust hosted a session on local abattoirs, which discussed why they are closing and how we can save them.

Chair: Jane Parker, Fir Farm

Panellists: Nick Allen, British Meat Processors Association, John Mettrick, National Craft Butchers Bob Kennard, Campaign for Local Abattoirs and Nick Palmer, Compassion in World Farming.

Small abattoirs are the linchpins of our local food systems. Without them, we would not have local, traceable meat production, nor the multiple public goods associated with local food. But despite the clear importance of small abattoirs for a sustainable food sector, the panel of experts explained that the future of the small abattoir sector still hangs in the balance. There are now only 56 small red meat abattoirs left in the UK, with a third having closed between 2007 and 2017 and a further seven closing in 2018.

Photograph: Hugh Warwick

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