A private abattoir is being touted as carbon neutral, but neighbours say it’s in the wrong place

A private abattoir is being touted as carbon neutral, but neighbours say it’s in the wrong place

A proposed $10 million abattoir is part of a cattle producer’s ambitious plan to produce carbon neutral beef, but nearby landholders say it will put the local environment at risk.

Key points:

  • Okeview Pastoral Company hopes to submit a development application for an on-farm abattoir
  • The proposal includes a solar array and generator
  • 50 people have joined a group opposing the proposed development

Okeview Pastoral Company owns four properties in regional New South Wales, the largest a 7,700-hectare station near Oura, east of Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales.

Oura is also the location for a proposed abattoir that will have the capacity to process 60 head of cattle, 50 sheep, and 20 pigs a week.

The company’s chief operating officer Adam Brayshaw said it would only process the company’s own grass-fed livestock.

Okeview Pastoral Company’s Adam Brayshaw.(ABC Rural: Emily Doak)

“It comes from a little bit of a dissatisfaction with the current business model where we get our livestock to a certain weight and then they’re sold off, they leave the farm and invariably go to commercial feedlots, and then on to commercial abattoirs,” he said.

“So we’re really excited to be pursuing the dream of putting our own product on the shelves, but also providing our livestock who we love and care for very diligently with a quality of life for their entire life.”

The abattoir would be powered by on-site solar generation and Mr Brayshaw said sustainability was also at the heart of the project, taking transport to slaughter out of the supply chain.

“Earlier this year we registered our properties in soil carbon projects and our long-term aspiration is to be able to provide the community with a carbon neutral meat product,” he said.

“We’re looking to be unique and be able to say that we’re a true paddock-to-plate business. It’s literally going from our paddocks to our consumer’s plates and nowhere in between.”

Local opposition

The proposal is in the early stages and a development application is yet to be submitted.

But it has been met with opposition from some members of the local community.

Oura could be the site of a new abattoir which would process 60 head of cattle, 50 sheep, and 20 pigs a week. (ABC Rural: Emily Doak)

Tom Kelsall’s property overlooks the proposed abattoir site and he is worried about the potential environmental impacts.

“This is an area that is listed officially as flood sensitive and groundwater vulnerable,” he said.

“You can see the beautiful lagoons just at the bottom of the hill that flow not far from the site, and they flow along the base of our hills and our property and come out upstream into the Murrumbidgee [river].”

He said an alternate site on the large property, away from neighbours and the flood plain, should be considered.

Deb Paton farms upstream at Mundarlo and said planning authorities need to take a holistic approach to development in the Murrumbidgee river catchment.

“We’ve seen other developments, quarries and recycling centres … and now 20 years later we’re really seeing the impact of those developments — be it in the road degradation, river degradation, industrial traffic on roads that were not built for those sorts of equipment,” she said.

Tom Kelsall, John Blackwell, and Deb Paton are opposed to the Oura development.(ABC Rural: Emily Doak)

Mr Kelsall fears the proposed development will “industrialise” the countryside.

“This abattoir will be built only for their own use,” he said.

“However, they want Oura to bear the environmental risk, the loss of amenity in the rural landscape, and the future risks of expansion. And they take the profits away.”

Developer confidence in environmental reports

Okeview Pastoral Company said 50 jobs will be created in construction and 12 when operational.

Mr Brayshaw said the building has been designed to fit in with the landscape and trees had already been planted to provide a visual screen.

“We obviously had to do some flood modelling, surveying of the site, elevations. There was a groundwater report done and these are really extensive reports,” he said.

“I think when people have the opportunity to read the outcomes of these reports they’ll be given the same level of confidence we’ve been given — that there’s going to be no adverse impacts from this proposed facility.”

The proposed private abattoir is being touted as carbon neutral and more humane for cattle.(ABC Riverina: Emily Doak)

Independent Member for Wagga Wagga, Joe McGirr, said he had been contacted by concerned residents.

“We recognise that people have the opportunity to develop their own properties within the zoning laws,” he said.

“But it is important the environment is protected, particularly the river, and that neighbours concerns are addressed.”

Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma