Fairness in the supply chain: Consultation on changes to carcase classification and price reporting by abattoirs in England

Closed 23 Aug 2018

Opened 30 May 2018


Changes to carcase classification by abattoirs in England to improve fairness and price transparency for producers in the livestock sector are being consulted on. This follows the government’s response to the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) call for evidence, which closed earlier this year.

The consultation proposes to make carcase classification and price reporting system for sheep in England a national requirement for all abattoirs slaughtering more than 1,000 sheep per week. This would mean that all abattoirs will use a standard grid to classify sheep carcases for the purposes of calculating the price paid to the producer. Classification will be undertaken by qualified assessors and producers will receive the results of the classification process. This will help ensure that producers receive consistent information on the classification of their sheep, and are paid per animal in a fair and transparent way. This will allow them to make better decisions, react better to the market and improve productivity.

Under EU rules, carcase classification has been mandatory in commercial-scale abattoirs in the beef and pigs sectors for many years. However, for sheep, classification is non-mandatory meaning that sheep farmers have incomplete information on the classification of their sheep. Some abattoirs already do this. The consultation also seeks views on requiring abattoirs to publish their schedules to improve transparency.

Please read the document at the bottom of this page for more information.

If you would like to keep in contact with us, to express interest in this any other Defra consultation. Please give us your details through the link below.


What Happens Next

After the consultation, a summary of the responses to this consultation will be published and placed on the government website at: www.gov.uk/defra.

The summary will include a list of names and organisations that responded but not personal names, addresses or other contact details. However, information provided in response to this consultation document, including personal information, may be subject to publication or release to other parties or to disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes e.g. Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (the Data Protection Act 2018).


  • Abattoir Operator
  • Farmers


  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Sheep and goats
  • Sheep, goat and deer production/marketing
  • Meat Industry