One of the last family-owned abattoirs in Yorkshire Dales is set to wind down operations after more than 20 years of serving the local community.
McIntyre Meats, which was seen as a lifeline for farmers in the region, will close down for business in April after 23 years of trading.
The site was used for slaughtering livestock, however, the challenging environment had significantly impacted the business's financial situation.
Owned by husband and wife Martin and Lindsey McIntyre, they have confirmed that the last slaughter day will be 27 March.
However, the cutting room will continue to operate for 'three to four weeks' after that time, the couple confirmed to The Northern Echo.
The smaller abattoir sector has an important role in maintaining food security, but numbers have fallen drastically in recent years.
During the period between 2019 and 2021, the sector saw the closure of 14 small, family-run abattoirs.
Last summer, Black Brow abattoir, based in Wigton in Cumbria, closed its doors for good in a move which rocked the local farming sector.
Around the same time, Pilgrim’s UK Ashton-under-Lyne pork processing site also closed down for business following 70 years in operation.
In response, Defra recently launched a £4 million fund to boost the sustainability and efficiency of small abattoirs.
It is open to eligible abattoirs to apply for grants to improve animal health and welfare, as well as to contribute to new technology and innovation.
Stephen Hill, owner of small abattoir and butchery Perry’s of Eccleshall, welcomed the new fund: “The funding has come at the right time for me, I want to move the business forwards.”
He called on existing small abattoirs to think about their future and emphasised the need for a succession plan: “If you are a small abattoir owner and you are thinking of closing the abattoir then mothball it, don’t close it.
"We can’t afford to lose any more small abattoirs. Someone might come along who would want to take it over," Mr Hill explained.