The government appreciates the role that small and medium sized abattoirs play in meeting the needs of producers in more remote areas and we are aware that in the15 years between 2002 and 2017 the numbers of small and medium abattoirs in England and Wales fell from 438 to 242. This is a result of consolidation in the retail sector and a drive for greater efficiency and higher meat hygiene standards in abattoirs.
The combination of these factors has led to the dominance of larger slaughterhouses, which account for the majority of livestock slaughter. An adequate network of slaughterhouses nationwide is important in supporting livestock production in Britain. However this is a commercial consideration outside of the government’s control.