Abattoir closure costs Jersey farmers up to £250,000 in run up to Christmas

Farmers have not been able to slaughter their cattle at Jersey's abattoir after it was damaged during Storm Ciarán. Credit: ITV Channel

Jersey farmers are warning they could lose as much as £250,000 in the run-up to Christmas as the island's abattoir has been closed.

The site was badly damaged during Storm Ciarán, with extensive repairs needed to its roof and electrical system.

Officials say it won't be able to re-open until at least Monday 18 December.

One farmer told ITV News there will be huge ramifications: "As producers, we rely on that abattoir.

"I've had to email many of my customers to let them know that I will be unable to supply them with their Christmas orders."

Trinity Manor Farm has around 450 milking cows and is waiting to send 12 to the abattoir.

Manager Jim Carter says the closure will have a 'big impact' on them, particularly with costs: "We’ve prepared those animals for December’s slaughtering and now we’re not able to send them down. So we now have to house these animals and feed them.

“More of a concern for me is the sort of long-term effect - because the island is very good at supporting local but if there isn’t local on the shelves, then they’re going to be looking for alternative beef from elsewhere.

Jim Carter of Trinity Manor Farm has 12 cows waiting to send to the abattoir. Credit: ITV News

Jersey's Infrastructure Minister, Deputy Tom Binet, told ITV News he sympathises with the businesses affected but assures that the workers involved are doing "everything" they can to bring the site back online "a day at a time".

He added that a mobile abattoir wouldn't work because the existing site should be back up and running before an emergency site could be built.

Deputy Binet also suggested that plans for a new purpose-built abattoir are on the agenda, but wasn't able to give a timeline:

“The long-term plan, because that abattoir is quite old and it is probably too big for the market we’ve got at the moment, so there probably will be plans to build a small abattoir at some point in the future.

A purpose-built site to take any size of animal that’s required. But that’s some way off."

Katie Hackett from Brooklands Farm says without a working abattoir they have nothing to sell. Credit: ITV News

Brooklands Farm in St Brelade specialises in breeding pigs. Shop manager, Katy Hackett warns that without a working abattoir, their farm will have more pigs to feed, the cost of which has doubled since Brexit.

She said: “We’re pig breeders and we depend on the Jersey pork that we supply to our customers and without the abattoir being able to slaughter those animals we really have nothing to sell."

“We can’t supply anyone with their Christmas orders and we’ve got five members of staff to pay and cover our overheads – it’s a huge impact."

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