An increase in inspection costs is putting the future of 35 slaughterhouses in Wales in danger.
The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) officially stated in a letter to the regional minister, Elin Jones, that “the cost increases can lead to the closure of most of the slaughterhouses in our region”.
The London government is seeking to reorganise the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) and to make it self-supporting. The Service is currently part of the Food Standards Agency, but intends to branch out on its own.
As a result, inspections of slaughterhouses will be carried out on an hourly-rate basis, which, according to chairman of the FUW, Gareth Vaughan, “will lead to much higher charges for slaughterhouse operators”.
The MHS currently calculates an average amount per animal per inspection. Should an hourly-rate be introduced, then the price could rise to around €120 per animal, should the services of a vet be required.
In real figures, for a small slaughterhouse, this could lead to an increase in costs from €13,000 at present to €100,000 per year, which is around 800% extra.