UK abattoirs to be eligible for support under the Agriculture Bill
The Sustainable Food Trust and Campaign for Local Abattoirs have welcomed confirmation from government whip, Baroness Bloomfield, during the committee stages of the Agriculture Bill in the House of Lords on Thursday (16 July) 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, the Trust says it welcomes the Baroness’ further confirmation that slaughtering will be recognised as one of the “ancillary services” eligible for funding under the Bill.
Following the publication of its report, A Good Life and A Good Death – re-localising farm animal slaughter, The Sustainable Food Trust has been campaigning for small abattoirs for over two years and during this time has had meetings with three Defra ministers and regular meetings with civil servants in Defra. According to the Trust, 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 them.
Patrick Holden, SFT chief executive, said: “Much more needs to be done to ensure support actually materialises and that it is used in the most effective way. But this is a very important victory for common sense and should help to ensure that producers of high welfare, locally-produced meat from environmentally sustainable farms can continue marketing this direct to consumers.”