THE UK Government has committed to future financial support for abattoirs, which campaigners hope will stem the decline in local slaughter provision.

Last week, the UK Agricultural Bill made its way into the House of Lords where it was confirmed that abattoirs and slaughtering would be covered in the list of ancillary services eligible for future farming support.

The UK Government whip, Baroness Bloomfield, stated: "The Government are committed to addressing the issues raised by [the All-Party Group on Animal Welfare’s] recent report on small abattoirs."

The report, released earlier this month, highlighted the negative impact of small abattoir closures on the rural economy and the need for greater government support.

There were seven closures in the last yer alone, leaving just 62 small abattoirs to service the whole of the UK.

The Sustainable Food Trust and Campaign for Local Abattoirs has been campaigning for over two years to re-localise farm animal slaughter by saving small abattoirs.

During this time they have had meetings with three government ministers and regular meetings with civil servants in Defra.

The SFT pointed out that this is the first sign that the Government, is 'actually willing to help small abattoirs financially and stem the ongoing level of closures.'

"Much more needs to be done to ensure support actually materialises and that it is used in the most effective way," said SFT chief executive, Patrick Holden. "But this is a very important victory for common sense and should help to ensure that producers of high welfare, locally-produced meat from environmentally sustainable farms can continue marketing this direct to consumers.’