Wensleydale family-run abattoir to close

McIntyre Meats.

A Wensleydale family-run abattoir is to close after 23 years in business.

The owners of McIntyre Meats, based near Bainbridge, say they have taken the decision due to increased bureaucracy and rising overheads.

The company was started by Martin and Lindsey McIntyre 23 years ago.

Lindsey told Richmondshire Today: “It’s not a decision we have taken lightly and we appreciate the impact this will have locally on farmers and the hospitality trade.

“The meat industry is the most regulated in the country and it’s become more and more difficult for us to do business.

“At the same time, the cost of everything, including electricity, is going up.”

The abattoir processes around 20 cattle and up to 500 sheep every week.

The business has eight members of staff.

The closure follows a national trend which has seen a sharp decline in the number of small abattoirs in recent years, with fewer than 40 thought to be still operating in England, Scotland and Wales.

Upper Dales North Yorkshire Council councillor Yvonne Peacock said the closure was “very disappointing”.

“The closure will make it very difficult for the local farming community in the future with no other abattoir in the area.

“But it wont just affect the farming community as everybody in the whole area will lose out.

“All the rules and regulations these days make it very difficult for abattoirs to do business.”

Patrick Holden, is founder and CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust, which campaigns for sustainable food and farming.

He said he would like to have a meeting with Richmond MP and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to explain how the existence of small and local abattoirs was “critical not just to animal welfare but also to sustainable agriculture, climate change and public health”.

“The Prime Minister may not realise it, but the closure of the only abattoir in his constituency is umbilically connected to the declines in public health, which hit the headlines this week.

“More and more people are realising that most the food we are eating, lacks vitality, is nutrient deficient, is increasing ultra processed and comes from totally unsustainable farming systems.

“The antidote is to eat locally from sustainable farming systems, including livestock products,  but if you think about it, but you can’t have local meat without a local abattoirs.

“So both the problem the potential solution to the food sustainability challenge lies right at Prime Ministers back door. As they say, sustainability like charity must start at home.”

The last slaughter day will be March 27 with the abattoir cutting room continuing for a period after that.