New chapter for Scottish pig industry after multi-million-pound investment

A P Jess, Scotland’s largest pork processing plant, is set to almost double in capacity thanks to a multi-million-pound investment from the Scottish government.

Around a year on from the closure of Hall’s of Broxburn, where most Scottish pork was previously processed, the announcement marks a large investment in the future of Scotland’s pig sector.

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said that around £2.7m had been awarded to the Brechin plant, creating 20 new jobs and safeguarding 42 existing positions.

Speaking at the NFUS AGM, Lochhead said: “Scottish farms produce around £81m-worth of pig meat a year for processing, and the closure of Hall’s of Broxburn was a severe blow to our pig industry. This award to A P Jess in Brechin is a major investment in the infrastructure supporting Scotland’s pig sector, and will go a long way in rebuilding capacity in the supply chain.

“A new chapter beckons for our pig industry. I am confident this investment will, in time, increase the size of the Scottish pig herd and the volume of Scottish Selected Pork going into the marketplace.”

All the pork processed at the plant will be bought by Tulip, the UK’s largest pork producer and processor.

Allan Jess, managing director of A P Jess Brechin said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has decided to support this investment, one of the largest ever in the Scottish pork industry. Our relationship with Tulip has developed over the past three years, and without their continued support this project could not have taken place. This project will make the plant one of the most modern in Europe and will strengthen the availability of the Scottish Specially Selected Pork brand.”

Vion closed the Hall’s of Broxburn site last year after it announced “unsustainable losses”. Causing major damage to the Scottish pig industry, the closure also resulted in the temporary absence from shop shelves of the Specially Selected Pork label, approved by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

Jim McLaren, QMS chairman said: “This announcement is a major boost for the Scottish pig industry following a period of uncertainty in the wake of the closure of the Broxburn abattoir in 2012 and will provide a strong platform for the development of our Specially Selected Pork brand.

“The Scottish pig industry works very closely with Scotland’s leading animal charity, the Scottish SPCA. Indeed, our development of the ‘Specially Selected Pork Approved by the Scottish SPCA’ label was a ground-breaking initiative and, in recent months, several major retailers have increased their commitment to sourcing and clearly labelling Specially Selected Pork.”

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