Welsh Butchers, Please Stand Up & Be Counted (FOI REF 6577)

26 Oct

On 12th October I sent in a request under the Freedom Of Information Act asking:

1. How many are there in Wales?

2. Please forward the full list of all independent butchers in Wales.

Today, 26/10,  I have been told that the Welsh Government does not hold this information. The Welsh Government have also confirmed that this information is not held by Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales or the Asiantaeth Safonau Bwyd Cymru / Food Standards Agency Wales. Instead I am told by the Welsh Government: I believe that your request may be publicly available information and would suggest that you seek it through these sources.

My amazement knows no bounds with this pathetic response. Unless I am totally wrong, I understood that one of HCC’s criteria was to ‘look after Welsh butchers’. But how can they possibly do that if they are unaware how many independent butchers there are in Wales?

So to double-check, I went onto the HCC website and below is taken from their front page:

Welcome to Hybu Cig Cymru Meat Promotion Wales Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is the organisation responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat. We work with all sectors of the Welsh red meat industry – from the farmers through to the retailers, to develop the industry itself as well as develop profitable markets for Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and pork from Wales.

I continued my trawl through their site and couldn’t resist checking how many staff HCC employed and found 19. But then back to business and I looked up retailers. Again I have taken wordage off their site which states:


HCC works with UK retailers – from local butchers to supermarkets – who sell Welsh red meat. HCC produce point of sale materials, such as posters and recipe booklets, which go out to retailers during the year to help them to promote Welsh red meat to their customers. These campaigns help retailers to constantly refresh their promotion of Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and pork from Wales to consumers. HCC regularly meets with retailers to develop new strategies for promoting Welsh red meat products to shoppers and increase visibility of the brands, which is done through promotional activities such as on-pack promotions and competitions as well as point of sale materials. HCC are constantly looking for new retail opportunities for Welsh red meat and carry out regular analysis of the latest retail data to ensure that the industry is kept informed through our monthly market bulletins as well as keeping up to date with the latest market trends. HCC has also introduced new initiatives for retailers such as the ‘Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef Butchers’ Club’, which aims to help Welsh butchers that sell PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef.

So dear reader, it would seem I can confirm that HCC must have the cleverest and most knowledgeable people working for them, as once again they purport to support Welsh retailers, unless I am totally wrong and HCC don’t count our independent butchers as retailers. Which would appear to be the case, as it’s impossible to support independent butchers if they don’t know how many there are in Wales or even where they are. My next option is to make a complaint – via the Welsh Assembly Government on this response and maybe that is what I shall do next. Would that we could all have the luxury of running our businesses in this vague manner………………………….


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  1. Pork Producer

    October 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Hmmmm – know your target market comes to mind….
    Despite this, they have just won 2 gold awards at a Welsh PR event. It makes you wonder who they were up against!

    The point of sale promotion material was printed in November 2010. If they do not keep a database of independent butchers, how did they send this out? I did not get anything, and when I inquired at the time, they said they had run out.
    From the web site when you click on pork, this is all you get “Visit this page regularly for news of events and new developments of interest to pork producers.” Well, I visit regularly and this is all I ever see! So no new developments there then. And the monthly marketing bulletins – nothing for pork there! Just keep taking the subsidy money and spend it on what?

    I am sure the EHO officers in each county know how many butchers there are. I am also sure they work for the Welsh government. Therefore the figures exist. It seems someone in power just cannot be bothered!