There's excellent news for livestock farmers as butchers show their unwavering support for local producers.

A new survey of British butchers shows that nearly 9 in 10 choose to sell local meat and two in three get their meat direct from a small local abattoir.

National Craft Butchers (NCB), the trade body representing quality independent retail butchers, launched their first ever survey of British butchers in July 2021.

The results show that reducing food miles and supporting regenerative farming practices and the rural economy are key issues:

• 87 per cent of butchers that responded prioritise local produce in their shops

•Six out of 10 prefer to sell grass fed, organic or free-range meat

• 38 per cent will buy animals live direct from market for full traceability

• Two-thirds rely on a small local abattoir to supply their meat

Over the last 18 months shopping habits have changed, with the survey revealing that 60 per cent of butchers have experienced changes in their usual customer profile since March 2020.

The biggest change is the arrival of younger shoppers who want to shop locally and care about where their meat comes from.

Red meat produced in the UK is amongst the most sustainable in the world, so consumers can be confident that British livestock production is part of the solution not the problem.

Recent information from AHDB, QMS and HCC points out that 65 per cent of the UK's farmland is unable to sustain food crops but is ideal for grazing cattle and sheep and that the UK climate is also ideal for growing grass for animals to eat.

In other words, ‘It’s not the cow but the how.’

Richard Stevenson, technical manager of NCB, said: "As COP26 continues the results of our first butchers survey are a timely reminder that British craft butchers, like the farmers that supply them, take climate change seriously.

"They sell high quality, responsibly farmed British meat because they believe it’s the best, and so, in increasing numbers, do their customers. ”