Long-awaited Brechin abattoir opens in Scotland

Scotland’s £10m Brechin abattoir has opened, employing 58 people and providing much-needed additional capacity to the pigmeat industry in the country.

Quality Pork Ltd (QPL) officially opened the abattoir, now one of the largest employers in Angus, following a major program of redevelopment over the past two years.

The initiative has been supported by private investor funding and a £2.7m grant from the Scottish Government Food Processing, Marketing and Collaboration scheme.

The site now boasts a lairage, kill line, rapid carcass chill system and lorry wash. It can process all Scottish-born pigs, with a capacity of more than 7,500 pigs and 300 sows a week and employs 58 staff, making the site one of the largest employers in Angus. About 130,000 pigs have been processed since the renovation was completed in January 2016.


QPL was formed during 2014, through close collaboration between Scottish Pig Producers, Scotlean and Tulip Ltd, to develop a modern processing facility for the Scottish pig industry.

It is owned by farmer suppliers in Scotland and operated on their behalf by a board made up from the three founding organisations. QPL bought the Brechin abattoir from AP Jess.

Slaughtering and primal cutting takes place at Brechin. Pork is then delivered to Tulip Ltd’s network of sites to be further processed into a wide variety of quality food products. It then supplies a range of leading retail and wholesale customers across the UK.

Export market

Work continues at the Brechin site to gain the relevant accreditations to allow it to supply produce for the lucrative and growing export market, particularly China and the US. It is hoped the move will place quality, Scottish-produced pork firmly on the global map.

“A huge amount of work has been undertaken to secure the long-term future of the Scottish pig industry and this abattoir is a critical part of that plan,” said QPL Chairman Roderic Bruce, who farms in the north east of Scotland.

“Today’s official opening will give all involved a chance to see around the new facility as well as meet with key customers.”

Andrew Saunders, Director of Tulip’s farming division Tulip Agriculture, commented: “The Brechin facility is a great example of what can be achieved through a collaboration between farmer producers and processors - combining our experience of pig farming and food manufacturing with the skills and experience of the Scottish pig farming community.


“We are incredibly proud to be able to source quality Scottish pork and will continue to work with QPL to assist it in helping to shape the future of the Scottish pig industry.”

Since the closure of Vion's Broxburn plant, many pigs have had to be sent south of the border for processing and many weaner pigs had to be sold to English farmers for finishing. It is therefore hoped Brechin will slash transport distances, enhancing animal welfare standards.

The original abattoir at the Brechin site was built in 1982 and was purchased during 2014 by QPL. About 130,000 pigs have been processed there since its renovation was completed in January 2016.

Owned by the Danish Crown Group, Tulip operates 16 fresh and cooked meat sites across the UK, employing about 7,000 people.

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