Local Abattoirs

Local abattoirs are essential for sustainable local food and high animal welfare.

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SFT Report

The Sustainable Food Trust 2018 report, A Good Life and A Good Death: Relocalising Farm Animal Slaughter found that the UK’s network of small local abattoirs is near collapse. The report sets out the reasons for these closures and states that, without urgent action, there will be a huge loss of consumer choice because the marketing of locally-produced, traceable meat will no longer be possible in many parts of the country.

The SFT called on the Government to:

  • Make a clear statement of support that it recognises the vital importance of smaller abattoirs, and make this a matter of practical policy across all government departments and agencies;
  • Work constructively with interested parties to make possible the use of mobile and small static red meat abattoirs for on-farm slaughtering;
  • Set up a task force with joint government, industry and consumer representation, to establish why small abattoirs are closing and propose innovative and practical solutions to ensure their survival.

Local abattoirs play a vital role in all rural communities where farm animals are kept. When they close, both animals and meat have to be transported much further. This is bad for animal welfare and bad for the environment. It also threatens the ongoing renaissance of local food cultures. On my own organic farm, I have had to change abattoirs nine times over the last 30 years in order to keep our farm shop supplied with the meat from our own animals, as seven of those closest to me have closed and two became unsuitable for other reasons. I now have to take our animals almost 40 miles to get them slaughtered and it costs a great deal to get the carcases delivered back to our shop.

SFT Policy Director, Richard Young

Abattoir Sector Group

Our Campaign for Local Abattoirs began in 2018 with National Craft Butchers and support from other organisations including the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and Pasture-Fed Livestock Association. This contributed to an inquiry undertaken by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare whose 2020 report recommended the creation of an Abattoir Sector Group (ASG). We co-founded the ASG later that year and work closely with the other members of the steering group to provide a unified voice for the small and local abattoir sector and advise government on behalf of the industry.

Steering group members include:

  • Sustainable Food Trust
  • All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare
  • National Craft Butchers
  • Animal Health and Welfare Board for England
  • Prince’s Countryside Fund
  • Rare Breeds Survival Trust
  • Pasture for Life
  • AIMS

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