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The Fight for Small Abattoirs in the UK

National Craft Butchers and Campaign for Local Abattoirs welcomed confirmation from government whip, Baroness Bloomfield, during the committee stages of the Agriculture Bill in the House of Lords on Thursday that, ‘The Government are committed to addressing the issues raised by [the All-Party Group on Animal Welfare’s] recent report on small abattoirs’. In particular, we welcomed the confirmation that slaughtering will be recognised as one of the ‘ancillary services’ eligible for funding under the Bill.

Following our involvement in the SFTs report A Good Life and A Good Death – re-localising farm animal slaughter, we have been campaigning for small abattoirs for over 2 years and during this time have had several meetings with DEFRA. This is the first sign that the Government, which has long said animals should be slaughtered as close to the point of production as possible, is actually willing to help small abattoirs financially and stem the ongoing level of closures.

A dozen peers supported an amendment on small abattoirs tabled by Lord Trees and spoke passionately about the importance of local food systems and the critically important role small abattoirs play within these.

The Environment Secretary will in future be able to give the sector financial assistance. National Craft Butchers (NCB) consider this is a vital step in opening up government support (not just financial) for small abattoirs.

John Mettrick, NCB Director of Legislation said: “I welcome this excellent news. I especially want to thanks Lord Trees for tabling the amendment to the Agriculture Bill and also the many Peers, over 10 I think, who spoke so passionately in support of small abattoirs. It was this pressure that forced the government to make their announcement and enabled Lord Trees to withdraw his amendment.”

National Craft Butchers slaughtering representative William Lloyd Williams MBE added: “It’s a great feeling to have gained this valuable recognition which rewards all the hard work and time we have all put into the campaign. However there is still much to be done. Onwards and upwards.”

Richard Stevenson, NCB Technical Manager commented: “This u-turn by the government represents a major battle won, but we have not yet won the war. We will be considering next steps with our partners at the Sustainable Food Trust very soon and we will seek to build on the good engagement we have already started with government officials and ministers.”

Click here to read our briefing for the House of Lords.

Click here to read more about our campaign.