Meat industry losing out on £1.5m says Meat Promotion Wales

Levies are paid to the country where animals are processed, not reared

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Fears the Welsh meat industry is losing out on £1.5m of potential revenue due to a clause in how money is allocated to promote local meat have been raised.

Each part of the UK receives a levy per animal slaughtered - to promote local meat - based on where they are slaughtered rather than reared.

But Meat Promotion Wales said a lack of abattoirs in Wales has led to a drop in money to market Welsh produce.

The UK farming minister said he wants to find a fair system.

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Dai Davies

We are losing out quite substantially”

End Quote Dai Davies Meat Promotion Wales

Meat Promotion Wales chairman Dai Davies said recent abattoir closures in Wales has meant a large proportion of cattle and lambs were being slaughtered in England.

He said the situation had worsened following the closure of the Vion abattoir on Anglesey, which slaughtered over 600,000 lambs a year, costing about £500,000 in levy with many of those animals are now taken over the border.

"We are losing out quite substantially," he said.

"We are fortunate in Wales that we have strong brands in Welsh lamb and Welsh beef.

'Time is money'

"If we are to market that brand both in the UK and abroad we need the financial support to do it.

"The money is used for developing the industry and also a large proportion of it is used for marketing."

Wales receives £5.67 per head for every head of cattle; £1.30 per pig and 83p for sheep.

Anglesey farmer William Edwards said he now sends a "big percentage" of his livestock to Lancashire following the Vion abattoir closure.

He said that using a slaughterhouse closer to home was less stressful for the animals and meant they could also be delivered quicker.

"Time is money," he said.

He explained that he did not use a slaughterhouse in south Wales due to the transport network, describing the roads as "very stressful" for animals being carried in lorries due to the hills and bends.

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There is general agreement that there are legislative and practical challenges with changing the current system”

End Quote David Heath Farming Minister
£7m a year

UK government Farming Minister David Heath said: "I want to find a fair and practical solution to this complex issue.

"There is general agreement that there are legislative and practical challenges with changing the current system, such as the ability to trace animal movement accurately but I want to find a solution that works for everyone.

"The English levy body, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) carries out a number of functions beneficial to Scotland and Wales, such as overseas marketing, export certification and research.

"Initial analysis suggests that the value amounts to approximately £7m a year.

"If Scotland and Wales were left to undertake these activities it is likely that it would cost the Scottish and Welsh industry considerably more than the amounts advocated for repatriation."

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