Butchers slam Hybu Cig Cymru for awards pull-out

Welsh butchers have reacted angrily to the decision by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), the Welsh meat promotion body, to pull out of the Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Meat Products.

The event was only saved when casings company Filmor D&E agreed to meet the organisational costs.

“We’ve been left stranded,” said Paul Coles, owner of PA Coles in Neath. “These are tough times and we don’t need HCC backing out like this. They’re showing a complete lack of support for the independent butcher.”

Steve Vaughan, owner of Vaughan Family Butchers in Penyffordd, near Chester, topped the list, with six golds, but he commented: “Without Filmor there would have been no event.

“I’m lucky because, as a member of Bpex, I can enter the roadshow events, but for many butchers this is their one chance to shine. But HCC is just interested in exporting out to places like Dubai.”

In a statement, HCC said that it was “time for a change of direction”. “There is now a greater emphasis placed on using the latest technology, including websites, to showcase the range of recipes that can be prepared using fresh Welsh meat,” it said.

HCC will also support the True Taste of Wales Awards, which this year has a new category aimed at independent butchers.

Swan’s Farm Shop in Treuddyn won two golds and nine silvers at the Awards for Excellence, while FR Kennedy & Son in Holywell collected awards in three categories.

HCC has organised the event since the agency was inaugurated, in 2003.