Farron stands up for small abattoirs
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has today posted a parliamentary motion in support of small abattoirs, which face Food Standards Agency plans for the Meat Hygiene Service to move towards full cost recovery - a move that could potentially see many small abattoirs go under, as their inspection costs, already numbering thousands of pounds, could multiply eightfold. This would have ramifications for both the meat processing industry and the environment, through increasing food miles. In addition, the loss of small abattoirs would increase the potential for a nation-wide outbreak of disease,
Speaking after tabling the motion, Tim Farron MP said:
"This plan is nothing short of scandalous - already we see 80% of abattoirs owned by just two companies, a position that would be deemed a monopoly in nearly any other type of business, and this percentage can only increase if this plan is to be implemented. Rising costs have already forced many smaller abattoirs out of the industry, and this is a great tragedy for many reasons."
"If we are to lose more abattoirs, it is inevitable that animal welfare will suffer, as they are forced to travel further to the slaughterhouse. In addition, the issue of food miles once more raises its ugly head, as the environment suffers from increased CO2 emissions from these vehicles travelling further. Finally, this move is dangerous in terms of disease control - despite an increase in hygiene levels since 1967, the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth spread far faster and wider - mostly due to livestock having to travel further to central locations, because of the reduction in the number of small local abattoirs."
"This plan by the Food Standards Agency is wrong, and I call on them to change their minds as soon as possible - the environment, animal welfare, small business and disease containment are all just as important as their bottom line."