The Role Of Small Abattoirs In The Delivery Of The UK’s New Agriculture Policy
Small abattoirs specialize in selling slaughter and butchery services to private kill retailer (PKR) farmers who supply them with livestock but who remain owners of the carcase, meat and offal, which they sell through their own retail outlets.
A survey showed 41% of PKR farmers had no alternative provider if the abattoir they currently use closed - 52% had only one viable alternative provider. This shows that the “private kill” trade is threatened by the further closure of small abattoirs across the UK. Respondents reported their PKR enterprise to be “essential” or “very important” to 65% of PKR farmers, so further closures will result in farm business failures.
Among the consequences reported by PKR farmer are (I) reduced sales of locally reared and slaughtered livestock and retailed meat, thus (ii) adversely affecting the size of the rural economy, (iii) significantly increase livestock journeys, (iv) a reduction in the rearing of native livestock species - with a corresponding loss of genetic diversity and habitat conservation grazing options, and (v), in part due to a loss of landscape and regional diversity, an adverse impact on rural tourism.
Government could support small abattoirs by removing inspection requirements, using targeted grants for building and equipment, clarifying confusing food labelling, and by creating a food marque to differentiate private kill retailed meat (and meat-produce).
Key words: abattoirs, private kill, slaughter, public goods, public money, government policy