Carcass weight of slaughtered sheep and lambs in the United Kingdom (UK) 2003-2018

In 2018, the average weight of slaughtered sheep and lamb carcasses per head was 19.4 kilograms, a weight that has remained stable over a number of years. However, if we look at more historical data, we can see a very slow long-term increase. The last time carcass weight was below 18 kilograms was in December of 2000.

Carcass weight

Carcass weight is the weight of an animal after it was partially butchered. For sheep the skin is usually removed as well as other inedible or undesirable parts, which include the internal organs, tails, legs, and often the head. Bones and cartilage are included in the weight. The weight varies from animal to animal and the average is used for industrial calculations.

Sheep and lambs

The UK had a population of approximately 23.8 million sheep and lambs on agricultural holdings in 2016. During the same year 12.8 million animals were slaughtered, which increased slightly in 2017. Sheep are more commonly subjected to Halal slaughtering methods than other animals and not stunned when slaughtered in 25 percent of all cases. Approximately 750 thousand sheep slaughtered without prior stunning are then exported outside the UK.

Average carcass weight of slaughtered sheep and lambs in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2003 to 2018

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Source

Release date

September 2019

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

2003 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* 53 week statistical year.

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