Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “The body blow of today’s announcement must be set to one side and the consultation period which has been started must be seen and used as an opportunity to explore tirelessly all of the possible options for the retention of operations at the Broxburn plant.
"The plant clearly faces infrastructure difficulties and these are set against the backdrop of tight margins and general over-capacity being endured by many abattoirs operating in the red meat sector.
“Quality Meat Scotland will be working closely with Vion, the Scottish Government and the wider industry to ensure action is taken to secure the future of the industry in Scotland and to allow it to move forward with confidence.
“Our pig sector has repeatedly shown its resilience and ability to adapt to a range of challenges in recent years and this flexibility is a great strength. Our producers are highly efficient and now very much focused on long-term sustainability. Indeed, during the past 12 months farmers have invested £millions in improvements on Scottish pig units.
“Producers are embracing the latest technology and innovations and have worked hard to deliver a national herd with a health status which is the envy of Europe.
“Our industry is also committed to high animal welfare standards and works very closely with Scotland’s leading animal welfare charity, the Scottish SPCA. Indeed our development of the ‘Specially Selected Pork Approved by the Scottish SPCA’ label was a world-first initiative.
“In the past two weeks our industry has taken further strides forward with the announcement of the first apprentices in the new Scottish Pig Academy and with several major retailers increasing their commitment to sourcing and clearly labelling Specially Selected Pork, there is an obvious demand for Scottish product.”