After a small delay of some weeks, which had something to do with the water, the new Abattoir at Avonvogie is now opened for business as of today. The first animal slaughtered was a charity lamb acquired by the Bruichladich Distillery during the sheep market auction at Bridgend, last Friday. The jolly animal, according to the laddieblog, was called Matidan of Eorrabus, and is raised by Isobel Baker of Eorrabus farm. The sheep was put up for sale to raise funds for the Islay & Jura Sick Children's Fund. A press release was issued today which I received this afternoon from Mark Reynier:
Charity Lamb to the Slaughter: Islayâ€™s new micro-abattoir is in operation for the first time today with a charity lamb. The islandâ€™s previous abattoir was shut down in 2001 since when animals have been exported to the mainland. Total control, essential for quality and authenticity, was lost. The Avonvogie Abattoir is the brainchild of Bruno Schroder of Dunlossit who breeds rare Middle White pigs. The unique design includes some sensitive features. Estate factor Chloe Randall said: 'This is a resilient, self-sufficient island. But I knew if we wanted control we would have to do it ourselves. Itâ€™s been a bureaucratic nightmare. 'Hatched and Despatched on Islayâ€™ - the actual Islay appellation - is so important for animal welfare, provenance and the added value it can generate for our island farmers.' Continue reading....The first lamb slaughtered was 'Matidan of Eorrabus', a prize Suffolk Lamb sold at United Auctionsâ€™ recent sale to raise funds for the Islay & Jura Sick Children's Fund. Isobel MacMillan of Eorrabus Farm, when she had a premature birth five years ago, used the fund that helps hospitalised islanders and their families with transport costs. Bruichladdich Distillery bought 'Matidan of Eorrabus' at the auction for a suitable premium to help Isobelâ€™s fund-raising which totaled a healthy Â£3000 for the Islay & Jura charity.
The Avonvogie Abattoir was funded by Dunlossit Estate, Scottish Executive, the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, and the Argyll Enterprise Company. The micro-abattoir will support Islay, Jura and Colonsay. The abattoir will ultimately be able to slaughter all ages, sizes and breeds of sheep, cattle and pigs. Avonvogie Abattoir has it's own website where there is more information about the abattoir itself as well as a detailed story and many pictures from the "Road to the new Abattoir". A quote from the Avonvogie website: "Dunlossit Estate uses cattle, sheep and pigs to manage its landscape for biodiversity, amenity - and for future generations. The livestock has a pretty good quality of life but since the demise of the Ballygrant Abattoir in 2001, those destined for slaughter have had long and difficult journeys to mainland abattoirs. Avonvogie Abattoir is there to serve the islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay - and we have come to realise that it may also attract customers from Kintyre and mainland Scotland."
Meat Islay! - Visit the website at www.meatislay.co.uk
Directly related to the opening of the new abattoir is the Meat Islay concept, something I wrote about a couple of months ago. The Meat Islay! mark is very important as you can read on their website: "Our mark guarantees that the meat which bears the MEAT ISLAY! stamp was born, reared and slaughtered on Islay. We at the abattoir will know if this is the case because livestock regulations enable us to prove the animal's life history. It is harder for the butcher, the chef and the consumer to share this information - so we are using our MEAT ISLAY! mark to identify Islay-born livestock which ends its life on Islay." The Meat Islay! website has a lot of information for consumers, producers and you can even sign-up as a friend of Meat Islay. Update: A new page has been opened at the Abattoir's website with pictures from the trial slaughter. (not appropriate for the faint-hearted)
The charity lamb at the abattoir, still unaware of what's going to happen. (picture courtesy Steve Marshall)
More information about the Abattoir and Meat Islay is available from Dunlossit Estate, Isle of Islay, PA45 7QL Tel: 01496 840232, Fax: 01496 840694, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by web at www.avonvogie.co.uk and www.meatislay.co.uk