When I first heard about the SRM proposal I put it in the memory bank and did nothing about it. Recently I was contacted by our local health department outlining the new rules. They protested that it should not be their job to oversee this new regulation and, after reading the proposal in more depth, I realised the implications. I immediately applied for details of how to make my premises into a licensed cutting plant and was sent a huge envelope setting out the minimum requirements.
I realised that it was going to add a lot of work and we would need much more space than our cramped area could cope with.
A local farmer called to say that they had a beast ready to slaughter aged 25 months. I had to decide whether to apply for a licence but luckily found that my local, low throughput slaughterhouse had already got a SRM licence and were prepared to do the work for me. The farmer was prepared to help with the extra cost and we were all happy.
I have been lucky to find a way of overcoming yet another problem faced by small traders and we are now trying to capitalise on it by telling our customers why we prefer to hang and slowly mature all our beef."
Garth Steadman, runs Steadmans butcher's shop in Sedbergh, Cumbria and is the chairman of the North West Guild of Q Butchers.