Fears for the future of butchery sector​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Increases in one size fits all regulation, loss of income through hides and skins and lack of education on the meat industry as a skilled and attractive career choice is leading to a crisis in the small abattoir and butchery sector.

A survey of such businesses across the whole of the UK by the National Craft Butchers (NCB) association found that this key link in the high-quality food chain faces a precarious future.

Of the abattoirs surveyed 70 per cent of owners were aged over 51, with 11 per cent over the age of 66, while 59 per cent expected to close the business within the next five years if action is not taken.

And more than half of those interviewed had no succession plan in place nor anyone to take over the business from them.

The organisation said that the results of the survey only reinforced the urgency of support for a successful network of small and local abattoirs throughout the UK.

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With the abattoirs surveyed offering private kill, cutting and packing services, it was highlighted that without these facilities, many small and rare breed farmers would be unable to get produce to their customers.

“We need the government to acknowledge the important role of small abattoirs, to ensure urgent regulatory reviews by DEFRA and FSA are prioritised, to invest in the sector and safeguard it for the future,” said NCB technical manager, Richard Stephenson.

He added that this should include attracting new staff and introducing measures which ensured small businesses were not regulated out of existence.

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