Orkney Council has confirmed the island's only abattoir will shut, and now a farming union is seeking to find a resolution for the island's farmers.
The abattoir, which is run by the local butcher consortium Orkney Meat Processors Ltd (OMPL), was closed last week due to fears that standards will not be able to be upheld without substantial investment.
NFU Scotland Livestock Committee Chairman Charlie Adam said the sudden closure of the abattoir on Orkney late last week is a "disappointing development".
He said that without an abattoir operating on the island, the Orkney Beef Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Orkney Lamb PDO cannot be used.
“The closure also causes a major difficulty in the production of North Ronaldsay mutton, which is vital to the small community,” Mr Adam explained.
NFU Scotland is now working with farmers in Orkney to discuss what should happen next. The union explained the importance of the abattoir, and has at times provided a necessary service for farmers and crofters.
Mr Adam added: “While the majority of livestock already leaves Orkney for further finishing or slaughter the abattoir provided a convenient destination, and provided PDO backed local provenance which is of particular importance to the tourist trade.”
NFU Scotland Orkney Chairman David Scarth commented: “Although it was not unexpected it is still a disappointment to those farming on the island who are at a very real risk of losing the PDO for Orkney Beef and Orkney Lamb if we go for any length of time without this facility.
“The abattoir is a vital service for Orkney farming, not only for PDO accreditation but it also provides a useful outlet for stock destined for customers in Orkney preventing them being transported to the mainland abattoirs, only to come back in to local food service customers.”
NFU Scotland is now looking to work with stakeholders and authorities, both locally and at national level, in a hope to find both short and long term solutions to the issue.