The Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI) has warned that 120 businesses will have to close if a funding dispute is not resolved.
The group is organising a ‘save our abattoirs’ petition to highlight the matter.
In a statement, the ACBI outlined that the Local Authority Veterinary inspection service (LAVS) is due to finish at the end of November.
“This is on foot of a funding issue between the City and County Managers Association (CCMA) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).”
“The LAVS funding is provided by the Department of Health via the FSAI and there has been a cut in funding in previous years (2018 and 2019).”
The local authorities are seeking funding of €7.8 million, however, they are being offered €6.6 million, according to the group.
“CCMA have written to FSAI that the LAVS will end on November 30th and negotiations are over.”
“No meat can be sold from local abattoirs without veterinary inspection which means 120 businesses will have to close.”
“As butchers, we need assurance that we won’t reach a cliff-edge at the end of November. As the inspection of meat prior to sale is a statutory obligation, surely there is a statutory obligation on the government to provide that service.” the group asked.
This decision, it said, will impact rural economies at the “worst possible time”.
The group stressed that decisions will need to be made immediately to reinstitute an inspection service.
“While we accept there is a pandemic and a lockdown, and small businesses are struggling, this is an issue affecting local economies all over this country and these butchers were there for their customers all through the first lockdown.”
“All we want is an assurance that the service will continue and to know who or what department is going to run it.”
“Small abattoirs and Craft Butcher shop owners supply customers with locally sourced beef and lamb purchased from local farmers.”
“They have to complete farm to table traceability on all meats, giving the consumer confidence that the food they purchase is locally sourced and fully traceable.”
“During the first lockdown, these small producers were able to meet the supply and demand from the consumers through their local farmers. Action is needed now.” the statement concluded.