Abattoir closure - dismay

First published: 25 October 2022

Meat counter

Tottingworth helps to fulfil demand for locally produced meat

The loss of Tottingworth abattoir, near Heathfield, in East Sussex this Christmas will be a major blow to livestock producers in the east of our region.

It also represents a loss to the South East as a whole, which has few remaining abattoirs.

Tottingworth has long provided a valuable service to farmers, many of whom meet strong demand for locally-reared meat from discerning customers.

The continued decline in abattoir numbers is an ongoing concern for the NFU and its members in the South East. A lack of vital infrastructure - in the form of local slaughter facilities - can prevent farmers from adding value through direct selling to the consumer, to customers within the butchery trade and hospitality, and and other small scale marketing initiatives.

Our NFU South East Fertile Ground report, An Agenda For Growth In The Regional Agri-Food Sector, celebrates the region’s grazing livestock for simultaneously delivering high welfare meat products while maintaining priority landscapes and habitats. It also recognises the necessity of shorter food chains. Unfortunately, Government has singularly failed to act on the recommendations of a report by the All Party Group for Animal Welfare, The Future For Small Abattoirs in the UK (2020). 

The NFU will continue to try to tackle the bureaucracy that hampers small abattoir businesses as we believe competition in the meat processing market is critical to the survival of livestock businesses, which themselves face rising operating costs.

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