All organic abattoir opens in Laverstoke

A former Formula 1 racing driver is to open England's first all-organic abattoir at Laverstoke Park in Hampshire.

Jody Scheckter, who famously won the World Championship in 1979 with Ferrari, has also become the 150th member of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS).

Speaking to the Journal, Mr Scheckter says he believes the completion of the £2million abattoir in the next couple of months will offer the ultimate in gate-to-plate traceability as it will only source meat from livestock that have never set foot outside the farm. "Stress at the point of slaughter can damage the quality of the meat. By controlling this aspect, we will be able to produce the best tasting and healthiest meat.

Mr Scheckter added that joining AIMS meant access to the latest advice and support to get the new venture up and running.

AIMS Policy Director Norman Bagley visited Laverstoke to present Mr Scheckter with his certificate of membership. "Who said the only way forward was the supermarket way? This represents a major commitment to the English livestock industry and a powerful message as to how vital the role of the medium and smaller abattoir and processing sector play in the future of a sustainable livestock sector," said Mr Bagley.

"Mr Scheckter is to be congratulated on not only turning a vision into reality but doing it with his own money. The medium and smaller sector bring the marketing flexibility that many livestock producers are looking for, and the brand inventiveness that shoppers want, at a time when many supermarkets continue to focus on the price driven commodity sector. "I know the sort of future I want to see and this investment is an exciting example of just how forcefully the independent sector is making its presence felt."

The new abattoir will be able to process up to 100 cattle, or 600 lambs or 400 pigs a day. The plant will initially employ 13 staff but this could rise to 30 if it achieves full capacity.

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