Abattoir finally a reality

Cayman finally has its own abattoir facilities.

Heath Minster Gilbert McLean finally received the keys to the new building in an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the agriculture complex Thursday.

Cayman finally has its own abattoir facilities.
Heath Minster Gilbert McLean finally received the keys to the new building in an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the agriculture complex Thursday.

The cost of the total project, which has been on the drawing board for more than 25 years, is about $960,000.

There are two structures, the slaughter house and the lairage (the covered pens where animals are to be collected and held for 24 hours prior to slaughter).

All animals that are processed for sale to the public will be handled through the abattoir.

According to the Minister, the facility will ensure that locally produced meats are handled to acceptable international standards.

He said while it was desirable to continue to honour tradition of past, times have changed.

‘Inadequate sanitation practices in the present methods of slaughter at existing facilities and under-the-tree slaughter processes can lead to serious health concerns,’ he said

This in turn could lead to serious repercussions for the local food industry.

The unregulated disposal of the waste products and other unused part of the carcass also increases the risk of environmental contamination.

Waste from the abattoir would be taken to the Water Authority treatment plant and processed.

He said Government is aware that some farmers were concerned about the abattoir taking away local tradition but stressed it was an onus on government to ensure public safety.

‘Government will be obliged to implement a fair and equitable policy whereby individuals will be able to have animals transported, slaughtered and prepared at affordable prices,’ said Mr. McLean.

‘The means by which this would be done would be through a subsidy to the Department of Agriculture, which would be tasked with the supervision and management of the abattoir.’

Regulations would be introduced to ensure that cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and other animals reared and used for human consumption will be slaughtered and processed under substantially improved conditions of sanitation and hygiene, while also observing best practices for the humane treatment of animals.

Chief Agriculture Officer Dr. Alfred Benjamin said there were some items left to be taken care of including the relocation of the processing room from the Farmers Market, procurement of a refrigerated and effluent truck, completion of the roadway and parking lot, the appointment and training of staff and approval of the regulations governing the slaughter and dressing of carcasses.

‘It is our fervent hope that we will be able to complete these outstanding matters in fairly short order so that the abattoir becomes fully operational by the end of July 2005,’ he said.