A suspected arson attack has done serious damage to Scotland’s only large scale pig abattoir.
Quality Pork Ltd’s Brechin site in North Angus has the capacity to kill 7,500 pigs per week and is of huge strategic importance to the Scottish pig industry, especially the producers in the north-east who make up the majority of the Scottish industry.
The plant, which has recently benefitted from a £10million investment, was discovered to be well alight at 4am last Friday (Aug 4) and it took a team of 40 firefighters working from 12 appliances to control the blaze.
Extensive damage was done to the office block and separate administration, dispatch and lairage facilities.
Andy McGowan, chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers (SPP), one of the partners in QPL Ltd said: “The police still have control of the site while their investigations continue. It is too early for us to estimate the extent of the damage but fortunately the processing line and the chills do not seem to be affected.
"This week’s kill of around 6,000 pigs will be diverted to a Tulip plant at Ashton, near Manchester. We will need to see what happens after that. The market is strong at the moment and Tulip, who are our operating partners at Brechin, need as many pigs as we can possibly supply.”
Mr McGowan described the office block as “wrecked.”
Haulage from the north-east of Scotland to Manchester is possible within drivers’ hours and animal welfare regulations but it is clearly not ideal.
One complicating factor is the availability of livestock wagons with many already booked for the main Scottish lamb sales which are due to start in a matter of days.
Police Scotland has urged anyone with information to come forward.
“This has been an extensive fire but thankfully no one has been injured,” said Detective Inspector Scott Fotheringham.