The brief explained that compliance costs for the abattoir industry as a result of the Directive arose in two areas, structural upgrading and veterinary supervision; the cost of veterinary supervision was emerging as the principal concern. MAFF had sought to give local authorities as much flexibility as possible, within the principle laid down in the Directive, to vary the level of veterinary attendance.
However, local authorities were said to have proved reluctant to take advantage of that flexibility and MAFF were being pressed for firmer guidance. On 26 October the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers wrote to the then Minister. They said that many meat plants had spent considerable sums upgrading licensed property valuers perth to meet the new requirements as a result of statements issued by the Minister and his predecessors. Industry had pointed out over a period of years that legislation to bring the new requirements into effect would lead to many closures of meat plants. Most of those closures would be of small to medium-size plants unable to expand sufficiently to absorb the additional costs, not least of which was the cost of veterinary supervision.
The Federation understood that local authorities were having difficulties recruiting veterinarians, and that MAFF had been under pressure to grant further derogations and to retain the status quo on ante-mortem inspection by inspectors rather than by veterinarians. They warned that there would be outrage if inspection derogations were made at that very late stage to benefit some rather than all plants, and called for MAFF to pay for veterinary services if an equal service could not be provided for all.
They believed that the only alternative was to introduce guidance based on throughput levels, but with local authorities being given the discretion to vary the percentage of veterinary cover required by plus or minus 10% on the basis of the standard of hygiene and management control.