Small-scale meat producers have won an extension to the latest provincial consultation on meat inspection regulations.
The new exercise requests proposals for new Class D regions or subregions, and began with outreach to local governments on June 3.
The initial deadline was July 19, but the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association (SSMPA) fought to have that deadline extended, knowing that local governments would not have the topic of slaughter facilities on their radar nor the staff available over the summer to provide adequate responses.
The ministry initially extended the deadline by a week, to July 26, and then realized that more time was needed and set a new deadline of October 1.
But how much more talking about meat inspection is needed?
The ministry undertook a public consultation on Class D and E slaughter licenses last year, releasing a 96-page report in May 2018.
The following month, the legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food began its own hearings and released a 37-page report last September that included 21 recommendations.
Class D slaughter licences allow slaughter of up to 25 animal units and small-scale retail sales in 10 of the province’s 27 regional districts. Class D establishments are not inspected by the province.
SSMPA would like to see Class D licences be available in all regional districts across the province but president Julia Smith is disappointed with yet another consultation.
“I certainly had more hope 18 months ago when this whole process began,” she says, noting that there are no D licences allowed in the Thompson-Nicola regional District where she ranches.
But government is missing the point if it’s considering more class D licences, says Nova Woodbury, executive director of the BC Association of Abattoirs.
“There is no reason to increase uninspected meat in this province,” she says. “Third-party oversight assures the consumer that food safety and animal welfare concerns are being addressed.”