Investment in existing rather than new abattoirs the way forward

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The case for a network of local abattoirs has been well made, including in a recent report by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, but it may not be a realistic proposition, according to a retail butcher.

Stuart Minick, speaking at a panel session at the Scottish Smallholders’ Festival in Forfar Mart, said he did not expect to see a network of new abattoirs capable of handling hairy pigs and horned cattle.

“It is not a viable option but I think it is possible to make better use of what we have,” said Mr Minick.

“We can support existing abattoirs and encourage them to invest.”

Mr Minick, who is based in St Andrews and has nine retail outlets in Fife and Tayside, did however concede that rarer breeds had a place and that he could make a margin out of them.

“I recently handled a couple of Dexter cattle and the meat was all spoken for before the carcases arrived at the butchery,” he told the audience.

“It is very important to have a strong story to tell and it need not be about organic production.

“Most of the beef I sell comes from continental breeds from a farm only eight miles from the abattoir at Shotts. It is a good animal welfare story.”



by Ewan Pate / Farmers Guardian

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