Lack of suitable abattoirs a key barrier for rare breed business growth

A survey from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) has found that that the lack of suitable abattoirs and consumers unwilling to spend more for high quality or high standards are key barriers to future business growth for farmers and smallholders who sell rare and native breed products.

The trust undertook the survey to examine commercial trends with rare and native breed livestock and equines. Of respondents, 42% warned that ‘lack of suitable abattoir’ is one of their top three greatest barriers to growing their rare breed business, whilst 48% expressed concerns over consumer willingness to spend more on higher quality meat.

Christopher Price, Chief Executive of Rare Breeds Survival Trust said the trust is campaigning for Government to commit to the support and collaboration which will help reverse the decline of the local abattoir network.

Mr Price said: “RBST will not only keep working to show consumers why buying native breed products is worth the money, we will also keep working with Defra to encourage support for the wide range of ‘public goods’ benefits generated by farming with native breeds such as supporting biodiversity and resistance to disease.”

The survey also revealed:

  • 49% of respondents said they sell their rare or native breed products for a higher price than continental alternatives
  • Of those who keep both native and continental breeds, or who have switched from continental breeds to native breeds, 71% thought that overall input costs with native breeds were lower than with continental breeds
  • 38% of respondents said that the commercial potential of a superior product was one of the reasons why they chose a native breed, and 36% said lower input costs was a reason for their native breed choice

Mr Price said that the survey results also show a thriving and dynamic native breeds sector with strong levels of investment and exciting opportunities for future growth: “The opportunity to sell meat for a premium coupled with lower input costs creates an attractive opportunity for commercial success with rare and native livestock breeds, which is so important for these breeds’ survival long into the future.

“The results also show the breadth of opportunity for those keeping native breeds of livestock and equines, with commercial activity deriving from native breed meat, wool, breeding stock and dairy but also conservation grazing, hides and horns, and more.”

The results are taken from the responses of 259 farmers and smallholders who sell rare or native breed products or services, to the RBST Commercial Trends survey, conducted in July 2021.

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