Meat industry to steady ship after year of setbacks
THE Southern Downs meat industry is determined to remain steady, despite the forced suspension of John Dee’s exports to China sending shockwaves through the field.
However, meat processors servicing the domestic market may not have a smoother run.
According to Carey Bros owner Greg Carey, the rapid closure of the region’s domestic-focused abattoirs within the past decade could be another concern.
“There’s not many domestic abattoirs left here, and there’s hardly any in northern NSW at all – you’ve probably got to drive about five hours past the border to get to one,” Mr Carey said.
“Increased red tape from environmental departments, meat authorities, and workplace health and safety requirements definitely played a big part in them closing down.
“Sourcing livestock is also a problem, with the drought damaging herd numbers nationally.”
With so many Warwick butchers depending on locally-sourced meat, a continuation in the trend could raise alarm bells for businesses and the community.
For now, Lyons St Butchery owner Michael Brickley said the ongoing strains of drought and the pandemic remained his top concerns.
“We’re doing very well, we’re very busy. The drought affected us last year, but with the rains this year it’s been much better,” Mr Brickley said.
“We source all of our meat locally, and it’s processed locally – it’s all within the district, except for the chicken, and we haven’t really had any issues thus far.
“We’re just grateful to our local customers for their ongoing support, and hopefully we can continue along the same vein.”