Lack of succession options threatens local abattoirs
A survey of small and local abattoirs conducted by National Craft Butchers (NCB) found that 56% of owners do not have a succession plan for their business.
Of the abattoirs surveyed 70% of owners are aged over 51, with 11% over the age of 66. What’s more, 59% expect to close their business within the next five years if action is not taken.
The future of more than half of these abattoirs is uncertain, as 56% of those surveyed do not have a succession plan or someone to take over the business.
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 cliff edge in terms of skilled, food business operators. All the respondents are offering private kill and cutting and packing services. Without these, many small and rare breed farmers will be unable to get produce to their customers.
The local and small abattoirs provide a kill service for multiple species for the same customer. Of these multi-species abattoirs:
- 82% slaughter cattle, pigs, lamb, and sheep;
- 53% slaughter horned cattle;
- 41% slaughter OTM; and
- 24% slaughter game.
They are also local businesses providing valuable skilled careers for their employees, on average they provide four jobs for their community per abattoir.
NCB have called on 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. NCB believe this should include schemes to attract new generations into the abattoir sector and meat industry as a whole, but they also need to ensure small businesses are not regulated out of existence.