The Cariboo Regional District wants more time to sink its teeth into proposed changes to rural livestock slaughter in B.C.
With the deadline of Oct. 19, 2020 to comment on the Ministry of Agriculture’s intentions paper CRD directors said that is not enough time to respond.
Directors discussed the e-mailed invitation to respond, dated Sept. 15, 2020, during the regular board meeting Friday, Oct. 2.
Policy changes being shared with ranchers, abattoirs, local governments and health authorities for consideration include: increasing the amount of meat that can be processed annually by Class D and E licence holders, and expanding the criteria of who and where their meat can be sold to; developing alternative models of licensing mobile abattoirs to improve service for smaller-scale producers; exploring a pilot program for conducting certain inspection components virtually; and renaming the current “Class A, B, D and E licenses” to more intuitive categories.
CRD vice-chair John Massier said if the ministry wants meaningful input from local government they need to allow more than 30 days.
“We were sent the e-mail on Sept. 15, we are expected to put it out to our constituents for real feedback and get something to them in the middle of October,” Massier said, suggesting the CRD pen a strongly-worded letter.
Area G director Al Richmond said while he is pleased to see the ministry embarking on policy changes he is also skeptical.
“The bottom line has been, ever since they tinkered with it, it drove so many of our slaughter businesses out of business and drove them out because they couldn’t have the Taj Mahal washrooms for meat inspectors,” Richmond said. “We’ve lost focus.”
Richmond said he does not recall there being an outbreak or contamination in small local slaughterhouses and meat processing plants that occur in bigger plants.
“Rural meat producers have suffered from their over demand for safety and the care of local food needs to be put back in the hands of local people.”
Maureen LeBourdais, Area B director said even though the timelines are tight for the board, she has constituents who have applications in for the Class B, and will be forwarding the proposed changes to them for input.
Echoing Massier, Area D director Steve Forseth said he thinks they need a six-week window to have time to comment on the report and make sure they can get the report out to constituents.
John MacLean, chief administrative officer said there won’t be enough time for a formal response from the board, but the intention paper has a been referred to the North Cariboo Agriculture Development Committee for a response.
“Before we submit a response off to the Ministry of Agriculture we will forward it to all of the directors. We won’t have an opportunity to have a formal response here at the board table with the timeline that has been established,” MacLean said.