Grant boosts Scottish abattoir plans

Plans for an abattoir in the lowlands of Scotland have accelerated after it was awarded a grant of almost £1.3m by the Scottish government.

The slaughterhouse at Craignair, near Dalbeattie will include a multi-species abattoir service, a chilling and storage facility, a boning and processing service, a full butchering and packing service and a cooking/curing service. The project was launched in April 2009 by the Dumfries and Galloway Food Co-operative with the help of Scottish Enterprise. It is expected to create 15 jobs.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “By providing a slaughter and meat processing facility, the new Dalbeattie abattoir will provide Dumfries and Galloway farmers and butchers with a local option instead of having to ship their livestock out of the area.

“As well as savings on haulage costs, there will also be environmental benefits thanks to the reduction in food miles.

“Local abattoirs play an important part in the food chain and this grant clearly demonstrates our commitment that animals should be slaughtered as close to where they are reared as possible. This investment will provide an excellent boost for Scotland’s red meat sector as well as consumers in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) welcomed the government's support. Chairman Jim McLaren said: “The South West already has the highest density of livestock in Scotland and this modern slaughter facility will help to underpin the further development of significant local meat production.

“Similar initiatives in both Orkney and Mull have demonstrated that it is possible to develop successful abattoirs run by a co-operative and allow local farmers to add value to their own livestock.”

“The members of the co-operative are experienced producers with a long-standing commitment to quality, demonstrated by their membership of the QMS Farm Assurance scheme, and we feel that their proposal is both achievable and fills a genuine gap in service provision in the area."

NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “Small scale abattoirs, such as that proposed for Dalbeattie, give individual farmers the opportunity to add value to their livestock and the potential to engage more directly with their customers through a number of routes - direct sales, farm shops, specialist retailers, farmers markets, hotels and restaurants. This is a positive development that gives livestock farmers in the area greater choice in the way they can market their stock.”

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