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Community effort to save crucial abattoir

Date Published: 14/08/2008

A geographically convenient abattoir is a critical thing in so many ways. It keeps costs down for farmers and processors, it reduces stress on animals, it can support communities – I could go on.

South Shropshire lost such a key site when Bishops Castle Abattoir was forced to shut some time ago. Fortunately it has been maintained in a state of good repair and now a collaborative scheme is under way to get the doors re-opened.

Here are the details courtesy of the Shropshire Rural Hub newsletter:

BISHOPS CASTLE ABATTOIR PROJECT (BCAP)

Overwhelming public demand for high quality locally produced and traceable meat was revealed in a survey at Bishops Castle Agricultural Show carried out by the Bishops Castle Abattoir Purchase Project (BCAP).

There’s no doubt that local food initiatives are supported by the majority of people living in rural areas, said BCAP spokesman Matt Mellor, but if we don’t have an abattoir there’s simply no way of delivering anything meaningful for meat and meat products.

South Shropshire and the Welsh Marches are amongst the best stock producing areas of the country, so the opportunities for farmers to benefit from local food branding are excellent, but again it cannot be done without a local abattoir.

The facility at Bishops Castle has been closed but maintained in a state of operational readiness for a year now. It is an optimum sized abattoir capable of handling cattle, sheep and pigs, and therefore ideal for a business with a local food emphasis.

Realistically, if this project to purchase and re-open the abattoir is not successful within a few short months, we are unlikely ever to see a facility in this area again – once it’s gone, it’s probably gone forever.

BCAP is raising funds from local investors and is currently around half way to its initial target of £400,000. Investors would receive shares in a new limited company, and the opportunity is open to anyone. For further details contact the BCAP project through localmeat@abccomms.co.uk, or by calling Matt Mellor on 01694 731915.

The best of luck to them!