An abattoir survey was undertaken to determine the prevalence of foodborne zoonotic organisms colonizing cattle, sheep and pigs at slaughter in Great Britain. The study ran for 12 months from January 2003, involved 93 abattoirs and collected 7703 intestinal samples. The design was similar to two previous abattoir surveys undertaken in 1999–2000 allowing comparisons. Samples were examined for VTEC O157, Salmonella, thermophilic Campylobacter and Yersinia enterocolitica. The prevalence of VTEC O157 faecal carriage was 4·7% in cattle, 0·7% in sheep and 0·3% in pigs. A significant decrease in sheep was detected from the previous survey (1·7%). Salmonella carriage was 1·4% in cattle, a significant increase from the previous survey of 0·2%. In sheep, faecal carriage was 1·1% a significant increase from the previous survey (0·1%). In pigs, carriage was 23·4%, consistent with the previous study. Thermophilic Campylobacter spp. were isolated from 54·6% of cattle, 43·8% of sheep and 69·3% of pigs. Y. enterocolitica was isolated from 4·5% of cattle, 8·0% of sheep and 10·2% of pigs.