Good Life & Good Death
Transporting livestock long distances to slaughter can cause stress for the animals. As advocates for local, healthy food systems, we recognise the need for local abattoirs to maintain transparent and traceable local meat supply chains. For these reasons, we use our voice in the farming community and are active participants in several campaigns and groups supporting local abattoirs.
We are also working on building and licensing a mobile abattoir which will enable us to slaughter on the farm. This work has been partly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Campaign for Local Abattoirs
We are members of the Campaign for Local Abattoirs which was established in 2018 by the Sustainable Food Trust and National Craft Butchers. The group was set up following the publication of the Sustainable Food Trust’s report which showed small abattoirs have declined by a third in the past decade.
Small abattoirs are essential for the survival of local meat production, enabling farmers to slaughter only a small number of animals at a time and returning meat to the farmer for them to sell direct to consumers. Without these abattoirs we would not have a traceable local meat supply in the UK. Small abattoirs are also important for animal welfare, shortening the journey time to slaughter, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the meat by reducing its food miles.
Abattoir Sector Group
The Abattoir Sector Group was formed in 2020 following the recommendation by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare’s (APGAW) report into ‘The Future for Small Abattoirs in the UK’. Fir Farm plays a key role in the ASG’s steering committee.
The mission of the ASG is to support and develop a thriving network of local abattoirs across the UK, which is essential to maintain high animal welfare standards, support sustainable farming and meet the rising demand for local meat. The Group intends to do this by raising the importance of small abattoirs across Governments, ensuring they are included in all relevant policy formation, seeking access to funding and sharing best practice to help small abattoirs play a vital role in local food production. They will work with DEFRA, the FSA and any other relevant regulatory body to consider what tools can be used to support small abattoirs.
The ASG steering group includes members from across the U.K including the Sustainable Food Trust, Fir Farm, Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Prince’s Countryside Fund, National Craft Butchers, Animal Health & Welfare Board England and small abattoir operators based in England, Scotland and Wales. Dr Simon Docherty, British Veterinary Association past-president and Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, is the chair, with small abattoir owner John Mettrick as vice chair.
We are designing and building a mobile abattoir to improve welfare for our animals. Our animals are born and raised on the farm, and we want to ensure they experience the best welfare possible right up until the end of their life. Loading and unloading from a lorry or trailer and travelling long distances to a place they have never been before can cause stress for the animals, which is why we feel the most humane option is to slaughter on the farm.
The mobile abattoir will initially operate and be licenced for Fir Farm, but we hope to operate within a 15 mile radius with other farmers, forming a cooperative to manage and run the mobile abattoir.
For up-to-date news about the development and licensing of our mobile abattoir, visit our news page.
- Our response to Government Consultation Improvements to Animal Welfare in Transport
- Report: A Good Life and a Good Death: Re-Localising Farm Animal Slaughter
- Report: All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare
- Click here for more on Covid-19 and the abattoir sector
- Read the CFLA’s response to the National Food Strategy Consultation
- Read the CFLA submission to the National Food Strategy
- Read the CFLA response to Defra’s Health and Harmony command paper
- A parliamentary briefing paper on local abattoirs