R Y Henderson's 65,000 sq ft processing plant, on a greenfield site in Linlithgow, West Lothian, the second largest to Grampian in the region, will bring 100 new jobs to the area.
Princess Anne welcomed the opening of the plant as so many had closed in recent years and she said, "it is a treat to see a new one come on stream."
She added the benefits were already beginning to show through and that it was important for more abattoirs to open in the future. "There are good abattoirs and it is good to see that the Hendersons are making an investment in the future of livestock slaughtering in Scotland."
Ross Finnie, Scottish agriculture minister, was equally enthusiastic about the new £4m plant, which the Scottish Executive had funded to the tune of £500,000 with additional grant assistance of £120,000. "This is terrific news. I am sure it will bring benefits to other parts of Scotland as we represent 48% of livestock. It was disappointing in the past animals had to be delivered some distance before slaughter."
The Henderson facility will slaughter three lines, beef, lamb and pork, all of which are hugely important with the upsurge in the export market, he added. "It will result in a significant boost for Scottish beef and lamb."
Kenny Henderson, owner of R Y Henderson, echoed Finnie's sentiments about Scottish Agriculture and thanked the Scottish Executive for its financial and political support in the building of the new plant. He also praised his father's insight in buying the original abattoir in the centre of Linlithgow when he came back from the war in 1945 "I am pleased my father Robert Henderson is still around at the age of 90 to see the fruits of his labour."
He also thanked his son Martin Henderson the financial director for working flat out to get the new plant ready for the planned opening date.
Henderson's new facility is based on a 280 acre farm just outside Linlithgow and half a mile away from major motorway links.
Everything in the new plant has been designed to comply with current and anticipated regulations. This is typified by the latest ammonia-glycol central chilling system, which by recycling heat, provides the factory with 50% of its wash down and hot water requirements.
Other technical improvements include a moving indexed processing line linked to a networked computer system that facilitates carcase and by-product traceability, and hydraulic downward-pulling hide remover which reduces carcase handling and minimises the risk of bacterial contamination, maximising shelf life.