Countryside Matters
Burning Issues

Small Abattoirs:

November 2002


Here we go again!

A ruling by the European Commission is again threatening small abattoirs in the U.K. The ruling says that a new charging system should replace the present ‘Headage Payments’ which have been declared illegal as they are regarded as having the effect of a ‘subsidy’.

At present the Meat Hygiene Service levies equal payments for inspection at both large and small abattoirs, this amounts to around £3 per carcass. If the new ruling is followed, the cost of the attendance of an inspector at a small abattoir could rise to £100 per carcase. Clearly this would be impossible to meet and could mean the loss of slaughter facility for organic and specialist meats. The effect would knock on to Farmers’ Markets and farm shops, small butchers, etc.

It appears that the imports from other EC countries do not incur the same costs on inspection, which raises a number of issues as to why this is so:-

  • Are qualifications required of inspectors as high, or higher than in the U.K.?
  • Is the level of inspection the same as in the U.K. - every animal, every time?
  • Is the standard of inspection fully in line with that in the U.K.?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘NO’ then we should seriously ask:

  • Are imported meat products safe?

The meat produced by our own small farmers is of high quality, inspected to the highest standard and with due regard to animal welfare. The idea of trucking animals for miles to the nearest large abattoir is a nonsense for reasons of environmental damage, animal welfare and cost. Please be prepared to support any petition against these damaging proposals.

Proposed new regulations on waste disposal could even close our larger abattoirs.
Watch this space!

T. W. Brighton, November 2002

Burning Issues 2002
Main Index

Abattoirs Archive
1999 - 2001
See also
Food for Thought 2002