Closing the Stornoway Abattoir would be a ‘horrendous decision’ for the crofting community, it was stated today.
The facility faces the axe as part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s proposed public service cuts.
A phased approach would save a total of £70,000 over the next two years.
This year, the length of opening season, the pricing structure, and efficiencies in the use of consumables would all contribute to a saving, while next year, the abattoir would close completely and users would have to make alternative arrangements.
It was acknowledged that this increased the likelihood of home-kill, with the consequential risk of incorrect and illegal disposal of wastes.
There could also be a consequential negative impact on local farming and crofting.
Cllr Kenny Macleod, of Ness, is a crofter who uses the abattoir.
He said: “Closing the abattoir would be a horrendous decision for the crofting community.
“The feeling is that there would be an uproar if it were to close.
“There has been talk of putting the charges up and I think people would agree to that.”
He added: “Home-killing would be rife if we were to lose the abattoir.
“It is a well-valued facility for crofters and it would set crofting back a long way if it closed.”
The Stornoway Abattoir is a fully equipped, modern abattoir, which holds a full licence for trading and meets the required European Standards.
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar substantially refurbished these premises in 1993 and since that time has improved and maintained the facility to a high standard.
The service this facility provides is a significant element of the crofting sector in the Western Isles, although due to the low throughput the plant is only open six months of the year.
During these months it is run by members of the Comhairle's workforce.