Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


  My farm is a predominately grassland farm on the steep scarpe slope of the Cotswolds. Our main enterprise is beef and since 1984 all our animals have been taken to slaughter weights and then sold through our own farm butchers shop. However, in 1996 it became a requirement that all animals sold as "organic" must be slaughtered in an abattoir which is registered with and inspected by UKROFS or an organic sector body. I fully support this requirement, however, I live in a part of the world where all local abattoirs have been forced to close over the last few years. I now use the last remaining abattoir in Worcestershire, which is 32 miles away and the proprietor is not prepared to consider registering as an organic abattoir because he feels his own future is by no means secure. As we only need to slaughter one or two beasts at a time to provide a continuous supply for our shop, it is simply not economic to take cattle greater distances to slaughter and then pay for the carcasses to be returned to our premises by refrigerated lorry. Since almost our entire income comes from beef and subsidies related to beef production, we found it uneconomical to retain our organic certification at a cost of approximately £500 per year, when we were no longer able to market our beef as "organic", so withdrew voluntarily, despite considerable regrets.

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