Jane Prentice and her family champion the farming of deer in Scotland, and are contributing to the building of a more secure and sustainable farming industry there – they are expressly keen to work with other local farmers and suppliers to build upon the farmed venison industry in Scotland. Their abattoir has only recently been built (2015) as a development of their decision to start farming deer a few years earlier. The cutting room was put in place last year. They slaughter deer, and sheep, one day a week. As a fairly new business, Jane says that the biggest challenge for the abattoir is generating sufficient revenue to cover the very high costs associated with setting it up as well as the continuing costs of labour and FSA inspections. RICHARD GLAVES, SCARBOROUGH, NORTH YORKSHIRE The Glaves family bought the ‘business’ – a shop and slaughterhouse – back in 1972, and it evolved into a more formal family partnership in the 1980s incorporating the shop, abattoir and farm. The business soon became nationally known and Richard’s father, Brian, was chosen as the Royal Smithfield Club’s president in 2008.
The abattoir takes pigs, sheep, goats and cattle on two days each week. Richard is, rightfully, proud of the business and of his team – ‘our staff stay a long time’. He runs an apprenticeship scheme every year, (investing in, encouraging and training the next generation) and, as a business, regularly participates in local events - running competitions, compiling videos, working with Bristol University, and attending agricultural shows. “I am passionate about it - you have to be. If you don’t care, then there’s no point doing it”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Richard identifies the biggest pressure upon the abattoir as being the sheer volume of paperwork and the bureaucracy.
John Coles built his abattoir 35 years ago. He had been a dairy farmer, and recognised that the quota system was not going to work for him, so he shifted his focus to the production of meat – championing a business which could guarantee the origin of the meat it sold. Thirty-five years on and they run an offsite farm shop and a thriving café - it’s literally ‘from field to fork’ enterprise. (In 2015 he won the ‘John Neason Diversification Award’ at the Devon County show.) Some years ago, the abattoir was selected by Channel 4 as an exemplar of good practice for the ‘Kill It, Cook It, Eat It’ TV programme. Despite this national exposure, John speaks of being very much part of the local community – he readily offers tours, has a training room on site, and gives talks to local smallholders’ associations. The main pressure for the abattoir comes, he says, from the FSA (bureaucracy – again) and the perception that (at a national level) smaller outfits are really not wanted and are being quietly (but deliberately) squeezed out of the market. JOHN COLES, OTTERY ST MARY, DEVON