Concerns aside, a revamped abattoir in Scotland is the way forward

After months of trial and tribulation, the revamped Brechin Abattoir has opened.
Well done to all who have contributed to rebuilding a plant that will help the Scottish pig industry regroup and build on the foundations that have remained throughout some exceedingly difficult times.

At the opening ceremony, Andrew Saunders, the agricultural director at abattoir operator Tulip, reminded me that I had been less than complimentary about various aspects of the plant as it was going through the rebuild.

He did accept, albeit grudgingly, that I had some valid points. I’m sure my main concern, over communications between the plant and producers, has now been rectified.
But that was all forgotten when the ribbon was cut. We have a smart, tidy and, hopefully, very efficient plant on the doorstep of most of the pigs in Scotland.

The remaining producers are all committed to pig production and, as Andrew pointed out, we all agree that the plant has to be sales-driven. The days of ‘dumping’ product on the wholesale market to get rid of cuts are long gone.

As I looked around the room, I could see all corners of the Scottish industry, all there to help drive expansion of a sustainable Scottish industry. Surely a new plant is the way forward.

“We have a smart, tidy and, hopefully, very efficient plant on the doorstep of most of the pigs in Scotland”

Credit must also go to the Scottish Government, which chipped in with almost £3 million of grant aid. That signifies, to me at least, the Government realises the value of the pig industry to the rural economy of Scotland.

Meanwhile, we had a blip on the pig front!
I was getting paranoid, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. The pigs were going through an ‘I don’t want to grow’ period. My inbuilt radar can tell when pigs are not growing fast enough.

We can’t blame the feed company, because we make our own. That ‘old chestnut’, winter barley, didn’t help though.
We were due a health check at the abattoir, so I must admit it was with bated breath when we loaded the pigs. There was no sign of coughing; in fact, they looked in rude health.

By late afternoon, I had to circumnavigate the report and phone Grace Webster. Her words were ‘perfect, no problems’. There was nothing to report, really.
So what caused the blip? We will never really know, but I suspect the herd is just settling down after the depop and finding its own health status.

It served as a reminder not to rest on our laurels, keep the place secure and be vigilant at all times.
We are in an ideal area to produce healthy pigs.
It would be exceedingly negligent, almost criminal, of us to allow a health breakdown. As if to back this up, not a gram of medication is used in the process, so it can be done!

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