Latest Update From HCC – Hybu Cig Cymru

04 Dec

I have been told today by HCC, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, that there is no requirement for butchers to register with HCC. Actually I didn’t think there any requirement for butchers to register with HCC, what I thought I was doing was asking a simple question of how many independent retail butchers there are in Wales and for a full list of them. Apparently not so simple for HCC or wag to answer!

However I am also informed that HCC have their own database of butchers contrary to them saying they do not have any list, see below, which has been built up over the years. But surprise, surprise, I am not allowed to have a copy of that because it includes personal information and its release could breach people’s rights under the Data Protection Act. I don’t need or want anyone’s personal information, just a list of independent butchers and where they are based, but this is proving too difficult for the powers-that-be, if not downright impossible.

When I first asked this question on 12th October, Welsh Country magazine was told that HCC was building a website for registered butchers and that hopefully it would be live in ‘a month’. We were not told that HCC had a list of butchers and that due to Data Protection we could not have it. Indeed our response to FOI 6577, we were categorically told that HCC did not have this list. Our only conclusion from this is that their FOI reply was incorrect!

I’m rather puzzled that HCC state they cannot let me have a copy of their due to Data Protection, whereas Environmental Health Offices can and have, provided such information to us without any such restriction. So do some agencies hide behind Data Protection, or is it just HCC’s intention to make life as difficult as possible for Welsh Country magazine, whilst they play the government game of smoke and mirrors? Our Best Of Welsh & Border producers know how many times the smoke and mirror tactic has been used by those people in ‘food power’.

I have again asked HCC to clarify how they can state that they support local butchers and send them promotional material, if they don’t know who and where they are? Unless of course, what HCC actually means, is that they only support the butchers that are on their own database. I’ve asked this question before, but not yet had a reply………………….

I’ve also asked for the total number of butchers on HCC’s database. Bearing in mind that HCC might again consider this information confidential.

I have lost count of the number of emails I have sent on this subject to HCC and wag, but as people paid at the end of each month, they no doubt think I have nothing better to do and plenty of time to waste! So much for HCC being tagged Meat Promotion Wales, if only this scenario could make you smile, otherwise you and I might just cry…………………

First post on this topic was 13th November – Butchers, Who & Where Are You? Please Tell HCC Because They Don’t Know!!!!  





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  1. Beefy

    December 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Smoke and mirrors doesn’t cover it Kath and neither does being fobbed off
    I admire what you are doing, not just for us butchers and farmers,but for Welsh food in general.
    HCC treat people, including their own butchers – well those they know of, as stupid.
    HCC have been in existance for years, and been well funded by wag without the levies. HCC say they look after butchers, well haven’t they had long enough to find out how many butchers there are in Wales? Guess stupid Welsh butchers have never been HHC’s priority and unless someone shakes them up big time, never will be.
    well maybe that is beneath them as they of course prefer their many trips abroad and wining and dining visitors here. Why should HCC care about the butchers? Why should HCC care that people in Wales can’t be certain they are buying Welsh meat
    saying they are supporting local buchers is not true and they know it but will never have the courage to admit that this FOI question has found yet another large whole in this pathetic organisation

  2. Pork Producer

    December 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I visited the HCC stand at the Winter Fair in Builth, for which they won an award. I asked for some information on pigs, anything, feed advice, promotional literature, anything… and was told to contact BPEX (British Pork Executive – the English pork promotional people). I pointed out that BPEX would not post to Wales as HCC had taken over the promotion of pork. The representative of HCC was surprised at this, and said he did not know what to suggest.
    I knew exactly what to suggest, but as the stand would not have fitted where I would have suggested, I walked away.
    I now may write to WAG and ask for my levy to be repaid to me as I consider it to be stolen, or whatever it is when money is obtained through falsification.

  3. Meat Man

    December 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I understand where pork producer is coming from and sure when visiting the stand they were not holding out for any support from HCC – sure they know better than that.
    But it does show how little HCC know about the meat market in Wales and in the UK
    why say go to the UK when they state again on their website they look after pork producers too? Why didn’t they really try and help?
    This is outrageous and massively unfair on all pork producers, let alone butchers.
    as to writing to wag, please do and let us all know how long to get a response
    as for getting your levy back, a snowball in hell stands a better chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ripped off, ignored and taken for granted, that is how micro and small meat producers are treated in Wales
    and who cares about us? No-one.
    Sorry that is not true, but honest I don’t write the HCC website!!! But we have Kath and her team literally working their socks off for us and uncovering endless cans of worms in HCC and wag food. In truth meat producers and food producers have got the people in charge that we deserve because we are too scared of them and allow them to ride rough shod over us year after year. It has to stop somehow but if only I knew how

  4. admin

    December 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

    You are totally wasting your time trying to get any sensible, truthful answers out of HCC Whoever said a game of smoke and mirrors was right only this isn’t a game for us it is our livelihood and our children’s future.
    I accept how much effort you and your guys have put into this but unless you take it forward to the Deputy Minister and his boss Edwina Hart, I think she’s called, you will still be pushed around in circles.
    It’s obvious you are asking HCC questions they don’t want to answer, what have they got to hide, especially from a journalist? But it does explain in a very sick way, why HCC don’t work with welsh country, wales’ only quality magazine that has set its stall out to support local food producers – it must make sense to those well paid HCC people, but not to us in the food trade.

  5. GIVE UP

    December 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Think it was you that said you felt you were forced into playing a game of smoke and mirrors when trying to get answers from HCC. I’d agree, but this is not your fault, the fault lies as always with HCC and wag food. These highly paid HCC & Wag people are playing games, but with our livelihoods and with our children’s futures. HCC seem to have lots to hide from a journalist. But it really explains why HCC continue to make your work at Welsh Country so difficult. Only the arrogant HCC can explain why they ignore the best magazine in Wales and the only one that has set its stall out to promote and support our food industry at all levels. HCC’s attitude is totally pathetic, high-handed and conceited.

    If you wish to continue your search for answers after your effort so far, being blocked every way you try, then maybe bypassing this ineffective system of Freedom of Info and going directly to Deputy Minister, or actually his boss, which I think, but not sure is lady called Edwina Hart, might be more effective.
    Wonder if that option would shake things up for this conceited bunch that are supposed to be our leading body…………………………
    Maybe pork producer will go this way to get action because that was a dreadful response to get from visiting their stand – I couldn’t give a toss if their stand won an award, I’d care if they supported people whose money they took. If this HCC shower with all their funding can’t do a decent stand, then who can? No idea who judged this worthy award but maybe it was a buthcer of a chef with a brown nose or maybe a wag person whose stand was next door to HCC wasn’t it?
    What a total shambles this is

  6. Diolch

    December 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Diolch – for all the effort you have put in trying to get any sense out of HCC, most butchers would have told you not to bother for reasons you are now finding out and it is back to smoke and mirrors. But that doesn’t make it right for Welsh butchers. It would be a joke if it was remotely funny but what it is is an utter disgrace – big changes are needed there that is for certain.
    I think you were hopeful that the new food broom would be more on our side, but not as yet.
    Why don’t you go direct to Edwina Hart and bypass food in total.
    Food producers can only be pleased for your work in not only the magazine, but its website where there’s lots of food and as for this, welshfoodbites, it’s brilliant.
    Many said you were silly to take on our problems, but most of us admire you for being so brave to attack these pathetic departments in the government. I don’t know anyone —– politicians, civil servants, or big food businesses that are fighting for us, they are either not interested, which is most of the time, or too busy looking after themselves and protecting their grants or salaries.

  7. UR A Star

    December 14, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I’m not the only of this opinion in our foodie industry. You and your team are fighting our corner, whether its wag or HCC. You’re the one asking questions and even as a journalist, you’re still not getting answers.
    There’s been lots of chat about smoke and mirrors, but I believe all you are being given is the distored truth.

    I have no idea who the new broom is at wag food, so I’m in full agreement with other comment left and ask would you now go to Mrs Hart, sure she’s the lady at the top and copy in Mr Davies? Sorry to ask you to do even more work for us, I’m treating you and the guys at the magazine as unpaid slaves. Even though I’m advertising with your food list, I always try to get more to join us. But it’s not fair asking you to take on more horrid, time-wasting jobs like this, it isn’t what I pay for with my ad. But it’s your fault for giving terrific value-for-money and as I’ve said you’re the only one on our side.
    Hope we catch up soon and thanks for exposing this HCC horror and all the wag ones as well.