Following his energetic support when the Mull abattoir site was upgraded and reopened following the fire, Highlands and Islands MSP, Jamie McGrigor, has welcomed some good news today for Skye and Lochalsh.
Last year Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) formed a working group to look at ways of providing an abattoir service for Skye and Lochalsh after a gap of over twenty years.
Currently crofters and farmers in the region have to transport animals for slaughter to Dingwall, a journey of up to three and a half hours, or even take them by ferry to Lochmaddy.
The Scottish Government has now agreed to fund a study into options for funding, building and operating a small-scale slaughtering and processing facility. This would be co-operatively owned and operated. The study will be carried out by a Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) team led by Portree-based senior consultant Siobhan Macdonald.
Commenting on the move, Jamie McGrigor, who is also Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Crofting and who has been a consistent supporter of small and rural abattoirs, said:
‘Like the Scottish Crofting Federation, I am very pleased that it and the Scottish Agricultural College will now be able to look at the feasibility of establishing a micro-abattoir for the Skye and Lochalsh area.
‘Small-scale and rural abattoirs are extremely important for farmers and crofters throughout the Highlands & Islands, allowing producers to gain added value for their produce as well of course as being useful for those who want to consume their own meat and for local sales.
‘I applaud this initiative and wish it well and am sure that the results of this study will be useful to many other rural and remote communities throughout the country.’