Shetland’s new £437,000 abattoir was officially opened yesterday (Thursday, 20 October 2011) by Shetland Islands Council’s political leader, Josie Simpson.
Commenting on the event, Josie Simpson said: "I am delighted to pronounce the Shetland Abattoir open. I truly believe that it will be a great asset to Shetland’s crofting community. The agricultural industry here in the isles has always been a vital part of our economy so I am very pleased to see an expansion of services that will facilitate its development for the future."
After several months of testing systems and commissioning equipment the new abattoir is now fully operational and, for the first time in Shetland, the facility exists for sheep, cattle, pigs and goats to be processed from slaughter to a finished butchered product.
It is fully equipped with two large chill rooms, which enable carcasses to be chilled in the most efficient manner and a butchery room, which provides customers with the option of having their meat cut professionally and matured to modern standards. The new facilities will open up new opportunities for farmers and crofters who aspire to develop and grow their own businesses.
Chairman of The Shetland Abattoir Cooperative Ltd, John Alex Cromarty, said: "The community has been looking forward to this for some time and it’s great to finally have the facility available for the industry to use.
"It’s very encouraging to note that although we’ve only been operating in a commissioning mode to date, we’ve been able to reach close to 70 per cent capacity, which clearly demonstrates the high demand for the facility.
"When deciding to go ahead with the construction of the new abattoir, our key aim was to improve the services available to Shetland crofters and I believe that we have absolutely delivered on this.
"It’s a fantastic development that will enable the agricultural industry to add value to their basic product, and it will also ensure that Shetland meat is more readily available locally."
There was clearly a lot of enthusiasm and optimism displayed at the ceremony with a collective feeling that the new abattoir will help secure the viability of the industry for years to come.
Shetland Livestock Marketing Group
Tel: 01595 696300
Shaw Marketing and Design
Tel: 01595 692465