Where’s the beef?

The Lower Valley abattoir was on the drawing board for 25 years.

It cost $960,000.

And it doesn’t work.

Closed since its official opening in April 2005, by former Health Minister Gilbert McLean, the new abattoir has never held one piece of slaughtered meat.

Agriculture Veterinary officer Colin Wakelin said the chiller doesn’t work.

‘A lot of things have been going wrong with the refrigeration unit which is not cooling properly,’ he said.

‘The parts are on order and then they have to be installed,’ he said.

The refrigeration system is an important part of the abattoir facilities, Mr. Wakelin said.

After slaughter and inspection the beef is refrigerated for several hours before delivery to various businesses, he said.

The abattoir was built to provide a hygienic and sanitary facility for the slaughtering of cows, pigs and goats, especially during Christmas time.

Many farmers said the facilities were unnecessary.

They thought it would take away from the Caymanian tradition of slaughtering the cow under the almond tree.

Others supported the idea, along with Mr. McLean, who said it was the avenue by which Caymanian meat products would receive an international mark of quality.
And at the same time it would offer a further guarantee to the quality and safety of local meats, he said.

‘We are hoping to have the facilities up and running by February of next year,’ said Mr. Wakelin.

Although they were having these problems, Mr. Wakelin said there was nothing wrong with the building itself.

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