Abattoir a great victory

South Cariboo cattle producers finally see their dreams come true with abattoir up and running

It has been a long and winding road to get a licenced red meat slaughter facility in 100 Mile House, but it’s finally here at Findlay Meats and it’s operational.

After the Mad Cow discovery in Alberta in May 2003 and the subsequent closing of Canada’s borders to the export of beef products, the federal government made some significant regulatory changes to the slaughtering and process of red meat products.

As a result, the lone slaughter service in 100 Mile House would eventually have to be shut down.

Back in 2009, producers were concerned they would have to travel for miles to have their beef slaughtered.

That would involve a four-hour round trip to transport the cattle to the slaughter facility and another four-hour round trip to bring the product back home.

Cattle producers were very concerned about the fuel costs and how it would eat up what little profit there was in the bottom line.

There were also concerns about the amount of stress it would put on the cattle during transport to the slaughter facility.

A group of producers got together and decided to start the South Cariboo Meat Co-op in hopes of constructing a provincially licensed Class A abattoir in 100 Mile House. The co-op was incorporated on Dec. 16, 2009.

By August 2010, it became apparent a Class A facility would be far too pricey, and the co-op board set it sights on a Class B licence.

By March 2011, the Class B slaughter-only licence was also in extreme financial jeopardy.

An intense membership drive was started to garner enough money to get the project off the ground by the Dec. 31, 2011 deadline of when the Class B licence application would expire.

The co-op members exhausted every effort to keep the project alive, but in April 2012 the dream of a new facility was denied.

Along the way, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett was advocating for the facility with her government peers, and area rancher Diane Wood worked extremely hard to find a resolution that would help local producers.

In March 2013, the provincial government promised to provide a locally based mobile abattoir in 100 Mile House.

Earlier this month, the abattoir arrived, was installed and is now operational at Findlay Meats.

This win for the South Cariboo came about because of the stubbornness, hard work and dedication of a few people who refused to take no for an answer.

We take our hats off for them for a job well done and for showing us important things can be achieved if we just keep pushing forward.