18 February 2000

Costs cut deep MPs told

WELSH farm minister Christine Gwyther and local MP Huw Edwards were grim-faced during the Monmouthshire farm visit when local abattoir owner Ethel James told them that inspection and offal disposal costs threatened her familys business.

"Veterinary costs alone amount to £2 a head," said Mrs James. "Last Monday we paid £274.90 for meat inspection and veterinary charges to kill 80 sheep, 54 pigs and 6 goats. Today we are killing 130 head watched by two meat inspectors, the usual vet, a Meat Hygiene Service vet and a regional inspector."

The abattoir at Ragland was still going only because she and her husband did not take payment for their work to try to keep their son in business. If they failed local farmers would lose a buyer, and a place to have casualty stock slaughtered.

"Please do something about the tier upon tier of regulations and charges or there will be no small abattoirs in the country." &#42

Abattoir owner Ethel James (left) left Welsh farm minister Christine Gwyther in no doubt about farmings plight.