It’s alarming that the closure of the last abattoir in the Borders, late last year has past largely unlamented.
We are no longer able to buy and eat meat from an animal from the Borders, that has been slaughtered in the Borders – unthinkable as little 10 years ago.
This affects every meat-eater in the area. Small abattoirs are effectively economically unviable in Britain, as a result of increasing red tape in the killing process and, once again, the monopolisation of food retailing by supermarkets.
I hope that the new council, and politicians will make it a priority to open and encourage another small scale abattoir – an innovative and original step that would support small-scale farmers, improve the quality of meat available to butchers and restaurants and create work, with a useful skill set.
The closest abattoirs are in the central belt and north-east England a round trip for most animals of 100 quality-reducing, miles, at least. However, most of the animals from the area are slaughtered and processed much further away in supermarket factory abbatoirs.
The Borders has a huge tradition of agricultral excellence, particularly in lamb production, and we need to be able to put the very best on plates, if we choose.