Armstrong’s to Close Slaughter Floor
From Atlantic Farm Focus:
An agriculture sector under pressure and a dwindling supply of local livestock for production has lead O.H. Armstrong Limited in Kingston (Nova Scotia) to discontinue it slaughter operations.
The decision means 14 employees who work on the company’s kill floor will lose their jobs on Jan. 25. Those affected are a combination of skilled meat cutters and unskilled labour.
Armstrong general manager Ted Devitt confirmed the action was taken out of economic necessity.
“It is no longer economically feasible to operate a kill operation. We had to let it go.” Devitt said the move came as no surprise in the industry. “When we informed the department of agriculture, the resounding response was ‘how have you hung on this long?” reported Devitt.
He added the company has been “hoping for the best over the past two years” and trying to keep the kill service for local producers. “It is an unfortunate situation and we felt a responsibility to our farmers, but when the (local meat) supply dwindles there is little that can be done.”
Devitt explained Armstrongs needed to slaughter 250 animals per week to meet their production quotas. The company has been averaging only 15-30 animals a week from the local market and been forced to purchase meat from outside suppliers to meet production. With the closure of the kill floor, all meat will come from purchased sources.
While slaughtering on site is no longer an option, Devitt pointed out other facets of Armstrong’s business “are solid” and will remain unchanged. “O.H. Armstrong will remain a local meat processing facility. That is not going to change,” stressed Devitt.
The company is a provincially inspected meat processor which produces a line of specialty and portion-controlled beef and pork items at the Kingston production facility. It is also a full service food distributor catering to the food service industry in Nova Scotia. The business was originally established in the early 1900s.