David Edwards, 24, had gone to the abattoir to sleep for the night after he left his home following a fall out with his partner.
However, he later met up with two men and began drinking in an office at the site in Shotts, Lanarkshire, before setting it ablaze.
Fire crews rushed to the scene and had to battle for more than six hours to bring the blaze under control.
Edwards, of Shotts, fled the scene but was later arrested after traces of his DNA were found at the abattoir.
At Hamilton Sheriff Court, Edwards was jailed for two years after he admitted recklessly setting fire to the premises on July 17 last year.
Fiscal depute Imran Bashir told the court: “The fire brigade had to fight the fire for several hours to bring it under control.
“CCTV was obtained showing three males approaching and entering the premises in possession of bottles.
“The fire then started and the three males were seen leaving without the bottles.
“Blood samples were taken from around the area aswell as footprints and it’s from that that the accused was identified as being one of the three males.
“He was interviewed and could give no suitable explanation. The estimate for the damage was approximately £500,000.”
Edwards’ defence solicitor Archibald Hill said: “He lives with his long-term partner and their young child.
“On the night he had a minor argument with his partner and left his house with a carry out.
“He went to the abattoir and his intention was to get drunk and spend the night there.
“He met up with two boys from the local area and started drinking with them.
“A fire was started and he is guilty by dent of his association with the other two boys.”
Sentencing Edwards, Sheriff Thomas Millar criticised him for refusing to reveal the identity of the other two males who were with him on the night.
He said: “You have not co-operated with the police. If you were drinking with them then surely you knew their names.”