Slaughterhouse saved by royal approval

Flora Corbett, James Wigley (lead butcher) and Mervyn Nudds (butchers assistant) can continue their good work at the Mull Slaughterhouse.

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The future of an invaluable slaughterhouse and butchery service on Mull has been secured for the time being thanks to financial support from the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF).

The PCF has awarded £10,000 and the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund has also offered grant support to help protect the future of Mull Slaughterhouse.

One of only 107 small abattoirs in the UK, Mull Slaughterhouse Ltd employs five people and provides an essential service to food producers in Argyll and Bute and the Highlands and Islands.

Flora Corbett, who runs the community-owned company, said: ‘The PCF money is a fantastic amount and it’s absolutely brilliant we have been awarded it.

‘They have been hugely supportive of us in the past and this time around has got us out of trouble after our refrigeration unit broke down.’

Mrs Corbett said that the future of the facility was continuously on a knife edge and she was lobbying the Scottish Government to give slaughterhouses the same status as piers and harbours to be able to access public funding.

‘Farmers would not be able to get their products to market without the slaughterhouse, the same as fishermen can’t get their product to market without the piers and harbours, and they are given public funding to build and/or maintain that,’ she added.

Closure of the Salen-based abattoir would require livestock to travel a further 145 miles by road and ferry to the Central Belt, leading to unnecessary stress to the animals and added transport costs for farmers.

Claire Saunders, PCF director, said the fund was ‘deeply concerned’ with ensuring the critical role abattoirs play in their economies is recognised, safeguarded and they have a sustainable future.

‘Many butchers, farmers and crofters depend on the service offered by the Mull abattoir and we believe it needs proper support,’ she added.

The grant recognises the vital role the abattoir plays in this rural and isolated community. The abattoir currently receives support only from private grant funding.

Prince Charles has long spoken of the importance of retaining island facilities and small to medium abattoirs.

His PCF recently completed a project that established the Scottish Island Abattoir Association, with the aim of improving levels of operation.

In December, the PCF also awarded £50,000 to the construction of an abattoir on the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh to ensure meat production is financially viable.