8 December 2000
‘Start your own abattoirs’

By FWi staff

FARMERS should band together to create their own local slaughtering and processing facilities to reverse decline in abattoir numbers, says a report.

Government money for the ailing sector has come too late to prevent large parts of south-east England being without a slaughterhouse, it says.

The report is based on a survey commissioned by the South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA).

Ten years ago, the region had about 40 abattoirs. Today only 14 remain.

There are no commercial abattoirs in Berkshire, the Isle of Wight or West Sussex, says the survey by chartered surveyors Dreweatt Neate.

The pattern is repeated across the country. According to the Soil Association, about one-fifth of abattoirs have closed in the last year and more are on the brink.

A key pressure is the threat of increased meat hygiene charges when full time veterinary attendance in abattoirs is introduced, says the SEEDA report.

Government money pledged in the Rural White Paper will allow abattoirs to pay inspection charges on the number of animals they slaughter.

Smaller units are currently under pressure because they must pay an hourly rate for inspectors regardless of the low number of animals processed.