No money for abattoirs from Brown

25 July 2000

No money for abattoirs from Brown

by Alistair Driver

THERE is no money in the Ministry of Agriculture budget to help small abattoirs fund meat hygiene costs, agriculture minister Nick Brown has admitted.

Groups leading a campaign to save Britains small abattoirs had hoped Mr Brown would pledge up to 19m in funding to fund hygiene inspection charges.

They expected the money was going to be made available under Comprehensive Spending Review plans announced on Monday (24 July).

But they were left disappointed when Mr Brown failed to announce any government funding to help cover the costs of meat hygiene inspections.

The minister was only able to announce that he is discussing the issue with colleagues at the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health.

He would not be drawn on when a decision on funding will be made, but hinted that the outcome would not necessarily be good for small abattoirs.

It also has to be taken into account that 40% of small abattoirs in this country account for 1% of meat production, said Mr Brown.

There is a huge difference between what large and small abattoirs do.

Over 200 farming, meat and rural organisations are campaigning to change the meat hygiene charging system which charges individual plants an hourly rate.

The groups claim many small abattoirs, which do not process enough animals to make inspections affordable, will close unless the system is changed.

Campaigners say it would be more affordable if the government levied meat inspection charges on the number of animals killed by small abattoirs.

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