Abattoir For Scilly ‘On Back Burner’ Until Butcher’s Apprentice Found

cattle grazing 4Plans for an abattoir on Scilly have been put on the “back burner” until a suitable candidate has been found to take on the butchers’ apprenticeship opportunity.

Local farmer and member of the Farmers’ and Growers’ Initiative, Ben Julian, says there has been a growing realisation that an abattoir will only be financially viable here if there’s an increase in the number of livestock kept on the islands.

He said it would cost at least £300,000 to set one up and there would need to be a vet in attendance.

At the moment, there aren’t enough animals on Scilly to justify the cost. But Ben says that could change in the future.

Cornwall-based master butcher, Philip Warren, has been advising the Initiative and feels that there’s enough demand for local meat, and enough under-used farmland, to allow an increase in production.

Philip has said that the quality of the livestock in Scilly is exceptional, but feels the only way it can make money here is by “adding value”, through the production of proper cuts of meat, as well as sausages and other meat products.

In July, he offered a paid, five-month apprenticeship for a local person to train at his business in Launceston but so far there have been no takers.

Ben says they’ve been struggling to find the right person to grab the opportunity. Until they’re in place, he says, there’s really no business case for the abattoir.

Funding opportunities will run out by December and Ben says it’s unlikely anything will be put in place before then, although more money is likely to come available within a couple of years.

Anyone interested in the apprenticeship should contact Jess Vian at the Farmers’ Initiative offices in Hugh House.

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