THE GOVERNMENT‘S sustainable farming strategy has suffered a blow with the closure of the local abattoir at Ulverston, Cumbria.

This would threaten local food production and regional regeneration, said the Country Land and Business Association.

Despite a recovery bid from a local meat processor, the abattoir ceased operating in the week to May 28, forcing farmers and butchers to make the 60-mile trip to nearest slaughtering plants at Carlisle and Preston, Lancs.

Regional CLA director Douglas Chalmers said: “The closure of Ulverston abattoir is regrettable and flies in the face of government policy.

“Promoting regional food is a vital link in Cumbria‘s regeneration strategy and the closure will not only affect farmers and butchers, but also the tourist industry and, ultimately, the consumer.

“We‘re trying to promote regionally-distinct foods as part of a sustainable strategy for farming and we‘re losing one of the essential links in that chain.”

Ulverston livestock auctioneer Chris Dodds said: “This is a disaster for the farming community and the town.

“You have to seriously question whether butchers can justify economically taking stock to another abattoir sixty miles away and bringing them back again.”