Abattoirs and the Supply Chain

Abattoirs and the Supply Chain

The Fund has been working to support farming families, small and local abattoirs, and their supply chain for a decade.

Following a round table convened by The Prince’s Countryside Fund at Dumfries House in June 2019, attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, we have commissioned research into the role and importance of abattoirs in the livestock-meat supply chain, with particular emphasis on links to small livestock farms.


Owners and managers of UK abattoirs of all sizes are being asked to share economic data in an anonymised survey, run by the University of Newcastle.

Findings from this survey will feed into a report on the viability of a network of UK abattoirs, due to be published later this year. Funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, it is hoped that this report will identify what steps can be taken to help prevent smaller abattoirs from closing and unlock support for these businesses from statutory and other funding bodies.

Complete the survey here

Abattoirs which cannot invest in their plant, equipment, and staff are vulnerable to closure, and twelve small abattoirs have closed in the past 18 months.

This research will capture a snap-shop of the viability of small abattoirs across the UK, identify how close other abattoirs are to closure, and identify what steps can be taken to help them.

The survey does not ask you to declare the name of your business, and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence. Responses to the survey will only be seen by the University of Newcastle staff who are working on this project.

The survey will take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete, and involves answering questions on how you use abattoirs. Once started, you are free to exit the survey at any time. Your participation is completely anonymous and responses will be aggregated with others for analysis so it will not be possible to identify individual responses in the final report.

If you have questions about the study or the procedures, or if you are interested in

contributing further information to this project, please contact Rachel Peden at


In November 2019, the Fund appointed Dr Jeremy Franks, Senior Lecturer in Farm Business Management at the School of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development at Newcastle University to carry out the research, and provide usable data and actionable evidence of the economic and environmental benefits of a network of small and local abattoirs.

The three main issues we hope to address are:

  1. To provide evidence of abattoirs' economic and environmental good, with a focus on their value to the economy;
  2. To look at the viability of smaller abattoirs in the UK, and how they can be best be supported;
  3. and to look at the place and context of abattoirs in the wider supply chain, particularly their benefit for smaller producers e.g. individual family farms, crofters, and other small-scale livestock producers.

This work will establish the background to the livestock-meat supply chain across the UK, and through a series of surveys, interviews, and visits will investigate the economic basis of UK abattoirs, the challenges that they face, their role in the wider rural economy and how they can best be supported in the future.

The final report, due to be published in July 2020, will:

  • Present information on the structure and structural change in businesses along the livestock-meat supply chain (with an emphasis on abattoirs) across the UK,
  • Present details of farmer’s meat marketing practices and alternative marketing and farming options should the abattoir they use close,
  • Outline the challenges abattoir’s face and their role in supporting rural economy in general and smaller livestock farmers in particular and,
  • Develop recommendations, based on the evidence gathered in the study.

To find out more about the research or to be kept up to date with the findings, please email Ellie Jesson, Operations Manager at info@countrysidefund.org.uk.