I hope it wasn't my lambs on the BBC's 'Week In, Week Out' tonight. Reason I ask is that I send my fat lambs to Dunbia in Llanybydder for slaughter - and Dunbia was starring on the programme. Well not exactly 'starring'. The BBC had put a 'mole' with a secret camera in the abattoir, and revealed what seemed some serious failings by the Meat Inspection Service. I've no idea whether this sort of failing happens sufficiently often for us to be concerned. But it made good and quite sensational television. The line that inspired this post was made by a meat inspector talking to the 'mole' when a smear of what he indelicately described as s**t was spotted on a carcass. "Its a fast line". And it must be a fast line, because one million lambs are slaughtered at the abattoir in a year.
Coincidentally, I visited a comparatively 'slow line' this afternoon. It was the abattoir owned and run by William Lloyd-Williams, Quality Butcher, of Machynlleth. Will is a star. The spirit of Machynlleth runs through his veins. This abattoir's throughput is about 6 cattle and 100 lambs per week. All the animals are bought from local farmers. Will has recently built a magnificent refrigeration building as an extension to the abattoir, the realisation of a life long dream that he is rightly and hugely proud of. On Saturday, I'm making myself available to the people of Machynlleth, and when I wanted to advertise the location, I wanted somewhere that everyone would know of - so I said 'outside Will's Butcher's shop'. What a tragedy it is that so many of our small abattoirs have been closed down by bureaucracy over recent years. Only the most determined individuals have survived.