Decline of the abattoir
The Land Is Ours
office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 27 19:00:22 GMT 2001
extract from below news release: "...the number of red meat abattoirs in
Britain has fallen from about 1350 in the late 1970s to 339 today, a fall
of more than 70 percent. Because fewer, larger abattoirs are taking the
majority of the business, many animals are having to be transported over
greater distances for slaughter".
Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 00:06 GMT
Decline of the abattoir - (from BBC news online)
Abattoirs say their business is under threat
The seven-day restriction on animal movements imposed following the
outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease is the latest blow to the UK's
Many smaller and medium-sized abattoirs have closed in recent years, with
only larger establishments able to cope with the financial demands caused
by tighter hygiene controls. Some argue that the trend towards smaller
numbers of large abattoirs has made it much more difficult to tackle the
recent foot-and-mouth outbreak.
Richard Young, an organic farmer of 27 years and a policy advisor for the
Soil Association, said it made it harder to trace the source of the disease.
"The abattoir in Essex where the disease was first discovered buys pigs
from virtually all over the country," he said. Because of that, when the
Ministry of Agriculture was looking for the source of infection it was not
just a ten-mile radius around the abattoir, it was the whole of the country."
The EU requirement that veterinary surgeons must also be present ... has
caused the biggest single problem for small and medium-sized plants in the UK"
UK abattoirs have come under increased regulation since Britain joined the
Common Market in 1973. An EU directive introduced in 1991 imposed
"prohibitively expensive" structural and procedural changes and called for
greater levels of inspection. Many smaller and medium-sized businesses were
unable to meet the costs involved, and closed. Mr Young said the
introduction in 1995 of the Meat Hygiene Service, which replaced the
previous system of local authority meat inspection, resulted in even higher
costs for many businesses. One medium-sized Durham abattoir saw its
inspection costs rise from £44,000 in 1995 to £110,000 in 1999. "For
smaller abattoirs the rise has been nearer 500 percent," said Mr Young. In
total, the number of red meat abattoirs in Britain has fallen from about
1350 in the late 1970s to 339 today, a fall of more than 70 percent.
Because fewer, larger abattoirs are taking the majority of the business,
many animals are having to be transported over greater distances for
slaughter. Mr Young said that some suggested longer travelling times could
increase the contamination of live animals "1000-fold".
After five years at college most vets see their vocation as helping live
animals, not inspecting dead ones
The National Farmers' Union has acknowledged that "large parts of
south-east England are now devoid of abattoirs".
Hampshire and Surrey have just one each, and there are none on the Isle of
Wight, although about 3,500 beef cattle, 20,000 lambs and 4,500 pigs are
reared there. Mr Young said that some small-scale pig farmers in Berkshire
are travelling to Bromsgrove in the West Midlands "in a desperate attempt
to find an abattoir still able and willing to kill their pigs".
He said that having full-time meat inspectors in abattoirs was a
"reasonable response" to increased food safety concerns. But he added: "The
EU requirement that veterinary surgeons must also be present ... has caused
the biggest single problem for small and medium-sized plants in the UK.
"After five years at college most vets see their vocation as helping live
animals, not inspecting dead ones. As a result there is a critical shortage
of British vets available."
Larger abattoirs are usually assigned a MHS vet costing around £30 per hour
on average, but smaller businesses get agency vets whose fees can commonly
be more than £60 per hour, and in one case £107.
From April this year, abattoirs will have more costs to deal with, as
levels of veterinary inspection will rise again, from 50 percent to 100
percent of slaughtering time.
The Land Is Ours
... A Landrights Movement for All
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