The Prince’s Countryside Fund pledges financial support to Mull abattoir

August 28, 2019

The Prince’s Countryside Fund and The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund have together awarded a grant to help protect the future of Mull Slaughter House.

One of only 107 small abattoirs in the UK, the facility on the island of Mull employs five people and provides an essential service to local food producers in Argyll & Bute and the Highlands and Islands. Its closure 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 in these areas, many of whom are already struggling to make a profit. This also raises the question of whether meat from the local area could then continue to be marketed as local produce.

Run by a committed team of volunteers, Mull Slaughter House is a community benefit society that has been in operation for four decades. Originally set up by a group of farmers in the early 1980s, the abattoir was rebuilt following a fire in 2010.

The grant recognises the vital role that the abattoir plays in this rural and isolated community and the fact that whilst it is operating at full capacity, the financial challenges of small margins and new regulations can be insurmountable. The abattoir currently receives support only from private grant funding.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “The Fund is deeply concerned with ensuring that the critical role local abattoirs play in their economies is recognised, safeguarded and that 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.”

HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, has long spoken of the importance of retaining island facilities and small to medium abattoirs. His Countryside Fund recently completed a project which established the Scottish Island Abattoir Association with the aim of improving abattoirs’ levels of operation.