Following the announcement that the Orkney Islands Council owned abattoir in Kirkwall has closed today with immediate effect, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“This news will be met with genuine shock across Orkney. It has extremely serious implications for farming in the islands, as well as for the wider food and drink sector. These are absolute lynchpins of the Orkney economy.
“I am particularly concerned at the impact this could have on the protected designation status of Orkney beef and lamb, as well as the consequences for other local livestock producers. Likewise, there seem to be serious questions about how we deal with animal welfare issues going forward in the absence of an emergency slaughter facility.
“I have already spoken this afternoon with Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Mart and local meat producers to discuss the next steps. In addition, I have been in contact with the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP, who has agreed to an urgent meeting next week with local stakeholders to consider both the short term and longer-term options.
“As I have said before, however, for an economy and community so dependent on high quality livestock farming, it seems inconceivable to me that Orkney could be left without a local abattoir”.