Cattle graze in a field at Arrowvale Farm and Campground on Hector Road near Port Alberni, B.C. (MIKE YOUDS/ Special to the News)

Island region one of three granted small-scale slaughter licensing status

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District farmers can now apply for abattoir licence

Farmers in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District will now be able to apply for Class D abattoir licences.

The ACRD is one of three new districts to receive official designation from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture: Electoral Area D of the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Electoral Area H of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George were also added to the list.

“We have been working with ranchers, abattoir operators and regional governments since 2017 to increase the amount of locally raised meat British Columbians in rural communities can enjoy, and we are starting to see the results of our collective effort,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of agriculture.

One of Popham’s goals when she began her term as agriculture minister was to address the province’s meat regulations. “It’s been a constant conversation around the province,” she said, ever since small-scale abattoirs were deregulated a number of years ago. Popham was agriculture critic for the NDP government for 10 years before the party formed government three years ago.

The announcement is welcome news for Port Alberni area farmers. The Alberni Farmers Institute in March called for the province to ease restrictions on slaughter licensing, calling it an urgent measure in case of food supply disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

A Victoria organization called the South Island Prosperity Partnership announced funding in May for a feasibility study into a south Island abattoir as the call for local, ethically sourced meat grows louder in that region.

“This is another step in the right direction for local farmers,” said Collin Van Horne of Nighthawk Ridge Farms in Port Alberni. “It gives us added flexibility in providing high-quality, locally produced food.”

READ: Vancouver Island farmers demand on-site slaughter

READ: ACRD investigates abattoir feasibility

Class D licencees are permitted to slaughter up to 25 of their own or other people’s animals for direct sale to consumers or retail outlets like restaurants and meat shops in the region where the meat was slaughtered. Regulations ensure animals are humanely handled and slaughtered, carcasses are processed in a clean environment and meat is packaged and stored in ways that reduce contamination, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

There are only 13 provincially designated regions that permit such licences.

Class D licences are one of four types of provincial abattoir licences in B.C. that meet different business models, community size and consumer and industry demand.

“The ability for local producers to access small-scale, on-farm slaughter facilities in the ACRD will support growth in the industry by reducing production costs and improving access to local markets, while encouraging a more accessible and secure local food supply chain,” said John Jack, chair of the ACRD.

Popham praised the all-partisan Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food that was formed in April 2018 for the work members have done around the province. “It was important for me to get an all-partisan take on the issues.”

Popham said while discussions about provincial meat regulations have been ongoing for the three years she has been in office, the timing of the coronavirus pandemic shining a light on local food security has been a bonus.

“If you had to find a silver lining in a pandemic, this is one of them: an awareness of our local food system,” she said.

RELATED: Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

— With files from Mike Youds, freelance writer



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AgricultureAlberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictFarmingfood security

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lights shine on Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium

$1.1-million lighting project will extend baseball season, says City of Nanaimo

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

Crews put out fire in basement of Nanaimo’s Bastion

Front Street closed at Bastion Street

Province announces plans for permanent supportive housing on Terminal and three other sites

B.C. ministry and City of Nanaimo partnering on 190 supportive housing units

City of Nanaimo looking into making council’s voting records more accessible

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong says a lot of citizens have asked for additional transparency measure

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Province providing financing to help get apartments built in Nanaimo’s Wellington area

120 apartments on Ledgerwood Road intended to be affordable for ‘middle-income’ households

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read