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Ontario cattle farming family buys abattoir to meet local demand

Reference: CBC News

The new owners of a small abattoir in eastern Ontario have not only ensured the continuation of an essential service for local farmers, but also turned their facility into an informal school for aspiring butchers.

Quinn's Meats in Stone Mills, Ont., had been up for sale for a couple of years before it was purchased in February 2021 by Kara and Darold Enright, much to the relief of local meat farmers.

While the couple are not new to meat farming, taking over an abattoir still proved to be a steep learning curve, says Kara Enright.

"I have to admit within the first few months we just looked at each and we're like, 'What have we done?'" she said. "We definitely questioned our decision several times."

The previous owner, Brian Quinn, was looking to retire so he put the slaughterhouse and adjacent deli shop up for sale after 45 years of business.

"We thought, 'Oh well, someone will take it over,'" said Kara.

As the sale dragged on without a deal, many in the local meat farming community, including the Enrights who run a small cattle farm near Tweed, Ont., grew concerned about losing access to a small abattoir that provides custom cuts, at a time when the wait list for many abattoirs stretches up to a year.

"Our family, as well as other local farms, were struggling to get their animals processed," Kara said.

"There's not a lot of processing capacity and we were worried that if we lose another processor in the area, that'll put even more strain on the other abattoirs. So we decided to have a look."

She says that visit led to the eventual purchase of the abattoir, and the family's determination to serve local farmers and residents.

"We decided it was a really good opportunity. ... We love being in a community that has access to all this local food."... Read More