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Caithness farmers push for micro-abattoir at Keiss

By David G Scott

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A growing group of Caithness farmers and crofters say they are determined to create a private kill facility at Keiss to receive their livestock and reduce food miles and stress on the animals.

The North Coast Abattoir Group (NCAG), headed up by Achreamie farmer Morris Coghill, was previously awarded a £9884 grant from the Caithness Beatrice Community Fund to carry out a feasibility study and business case for the facility.

Morris Coghill runs the North Coast Abattoir Group. Picture: DGS
Morris Coghill runs the North Coast Abattoir Group. Picture: DGS

Mr Coghill said: "We want to raise awareness of the benefits of this for not only the farmers but the local community too. We're now trying to get another grant from the Rural Payments Agency and hopefully match funding on the back of that."

Together with his wife Essie, Mr Coghill recently distributed leaflets and posters seeking community interest in the abattoir/butchery project. The aim was to "encourage anyone and everyone" who wants to eat local meat with low food miles to fill out their forms and return them.

"We want comments from the person in the street, the children in the playground, householders, shopkeepers, caterers, all coming back to us to say they want to see this project succeed for the benefit of the north as a whole."

The county's previous slaughterhouse and processing plant run by Caithness Beef and Lamb shut down after "a lack of throughput". The nearest slaughterhouse is now in Dingwall but Mr Coghill, who runs a 40 Highland fold at Achreamie, near Dounreay, uses the abattoir on Mull. He says there is common agreement among Caithness farmers that long journeys are "not desirable on animal welfare or environmental grounds".

With NCAG, Mr and Mrs Coghill believe they have created a strong voice for their cause and welcome all who have an interest in the matter to join them. Contact NCAG on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/northcoastabattoir or visit its website for further information at www.spanglefish.com/northcoastabattoir

Related article:

Feasibility funds awarded for private kill service

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