11 October 2000
Money predicted for small abattoirs

By FWi staff

MONEY to partially relieve small- and medium-sized abattoirs from hygiene inspection costs is likely to be announced by Welsh farm secretary Carwyn Jones.

A spokesman for Mr Joness office told Farmers Weekly that the announcement is likely to be made next week, possibly on 19 October.

The news comes as campaigners for small abattoirs prepare to hand in a 120,000-strong petition to Downing Street calling for help for the ailing sector.

Campaigners claim 21 abattoirs have closed this year, and more will follow after 1 April, 2001 when full-time veterinary inspection becomes mandatory.

This would push the hourly cost of inspection to over 40 per beef animal for some small plants, according to the Small Abattoir Federation.

Bob Kennard, a campaigner for the Soil Association, said Welsh abattoirs would be faced with lower costs of production if they were granted more funding.

The would also increase pressure on the government ministers to help small and medium-sized abattoirs and processing plants in England, he said.

A report in June has already urged ministers to spend between 14-19 million to avert the “serious decimation” of the small and medium sized abattoir sector.

The government has been roundly criticised for not implementing the recommendations, which have been backed by over 200 diverse organisations.