SCOTLAND’S first caviar farm has been given the go-ahead – despite being slammed by campaigners as “cruel”.
Councillors yesterday (wed) approved plans for Fynest Caviar to build a closed containment aquaculture facility by Loch Fyne, on the west coast of Argyll and Bute.
Fynest Caviar aim to have Scottish-produced caviar, which can cost as much as £1,000 per 500g, on the market by Christmas 2020.
Animal campaigners are furious at the decision saying it is a “step in the wrong direction.”
This comes after they launched a petition against the farm – attracting 5,000 signatures.
The council say they will consult with animal health officers to ensure the farm is “fit for purpose” in terms of animal welfare.
The company will now be able to start work on three new buildings, which will contain three water tanks, at the site at Ardkinglas Sawmill, Cairndow.
Yesterday (wed) Argyll and Bute council confirmed plans for the farm had been approved in-line with recommendations from planning officers.
The decision has been met with fury from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who opposed the farm and claiming, it would be cruel, unnatural and inhumane.
The animal rights group lodged a petition against the plans which reached over 5,000 signatures.
Elisa Allen, Director of PETA said: “How appalling that Argyll and Bute Council has refused to listen to the calls of thousands of locals who opposed this nightmarish facility.
“At a time when Scots and many others are moving away from animal agriculture and embracing vegan foods, this “first” for Scotland is a step in the wrong direction.”
“In the wild, sturgeons live in open rivers and migrate vast distances, but on commercial fish farms, they’re confined to severely crowded tanks, where they have no option but to spend their lives swimming in endless circles and are highly susceptible to stress and aggression.”
“At the end of their miserable lives, they’ll be cut open so their eggs can be taken for a so-called “delicacy” which most people have no appetite for.”
The Fynest caviar company said that sturgeon are currently vulnerable to overfishing.
In a statement responding to the objections, it wrote: “Our fish will mature at seven to 10 years old, at this time they will measure 27-40 inches in length and be in a weight range of 10-12 kilos.
“When certain fish have been identified for processing they will be moved to a smaller diameter tank containing cold water.
“This causes the metabolism of the fish to slow greatly. Clove oil will be introduced into the water in the tank to anesthetise the fish.”
The firm said that once in the dispatching room, fish will be placed on a processing table and be killed with a club or “priest”. They claim that death is instantaneous.
A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute council said: “The council’s planning service will consult with animal health officers at the next stage to ensure that what is being considered is fit for purpose in terms of animal welfare issues, as they affect material planning considerations.”