LORD TREES’ AMENDMENT 87 TO THE AGRICULTURE BILL ELICITS AN IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT – A WIN FOR BOTH ANIMAL WELFARE AND THE SELF-SUSTAINABILITY OF THE RURAL ECONOMY.
On Thursday 16th July, in response to Lord Trees amendment, Minister’s confirmed that slaughtering would be recognised as one of the key ‘ancillary services’ eligible for public funds. The Amendment was supported by Baronesses, Lady Mallalieu, Lady Jones of Whitchurch and Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville.
This will enable assistance to be given in an appropriate case to a licensed abattoir which, for example, provides a private kill service or enables slaughtering facilities in an area otherwise without adequate provision.
“I am delighted to say that we have had it confirmed that the definition of ancillary activities in Clause 1(5) covers slaughtering under either “preparing” or “processing”
Ministers closing remarks to Amendment 87 of the Agriculture Bill, 16th July 2020
The clarification was all the more welcome as we had reason to suspect that there had been reluctance to enable abattoirs to receive this support.
In the last few weeks VPRF and others had written a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice and had discussed the issue in detail with Lord Gardiner, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity.
These conversations and others allowed the government to clarify their position before the committee stage debate. We were very glad that at the last minute the Minister at the Dispatch Box confirmed that “slaughter” would be included in the list of “ancillary activities” eligible for support.
The proposed amendment was supported by evidence from a recent All Part Parliamentary Group (APGAW) inquiry; “The Future for Small Abattoirs in the UK”.
Lord Trees argued that:
“Given the key role that small abattoirs can play in improving animal welfare, enabling local food production and enabling the financial sustainability of livestock farming, while contributing to the wider rural economy and our national food security, I submit that there is a strong case for their eligibility for support, subject to conditions, under this Bill.”
“The amendment is not about subsidising abattoirs. It would merely allow as eligible for assistance certain abattoirs that recognise the higher regulatory standards rightly required for operations that are relatively low throughput and local.”
A selection of messages received:
Megan Perry, Head of Communications, Sustainable Food Trust, 17th July 2020
Above: Farmers Guardian article 24th July 2020
Read more about the build-up to this Amendment in a Vet Record Article (July 2020) by Intern Catrina Prince:
…and further reading and supporting data can be found in the APGAW report “The Future for Small Abattoirs in the UK”