Abattoir output increasing despite increase in plant-based diets

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British abattoirs are killing more animals for meat every year to supply the overseas market, despite the increasing popularity of plant-based lifestyles in the UK.

Almost 28.8 million farm animals were killed for meat in 2019, marking an increase of 5.4 per cent in two years, Government figures show.

On average, 78,900 cows, sheep and pigs were killed every day in 2019, up from 74,800 a day in 2017, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Meanwhile, this month nearly 400,000 Britons signed up for Veganuary – pledging to eat a plant-based diet for January 2020.

The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (Aims), a union of 250 small and medium sized abattoirs which deal with around half of the nation’s animals, said the increase in slaughtered animals is likely to be the result of greater demand for meat abroad.

A spokesman said: “From an Aims perspective, the increase is due to increased export sales across red meat, and in particular pork.

“Increased tonnage was sent as a result of their outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) which decimated the Chinese pig population during 2019.”

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