Changes to meat inspection needed

I am following up on Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson’s article entitled “Let’s fix this Mess” in the Oct. 2 issue of the Tribune.

Editor:

I am following up on Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson’s article entitled “Let’s fix this Mess” in the Oct. 2 issue of the Tribune.

Early in December 2011, a group of producers wrote up a proposal for government to consider regarding changes to the Meat Inspection Regulations (MIR). At the time, many South Cariboo producers and residents were concerned with the pending end of slaughter at Findlay Meats, which took effect on Dec. 31, 2011.

We firmly believe that the current MIR legislation had created a gap in licensed slaughter. We asked that the government explore the establishment of another level of licensing which would close that gap: veterinary inspection at small facilities for farm gate sales and own use only.

This level of license would not allow for retail or restaurant sales, which is what the current Class A and B licenses provide but would provide rural residents with affordable access to a clean slaughter of local meat through farm gate sales.

We requested that the government run a pilot project to that end at Findlay Meats in 100 Mile House where they could assess the success of the project and study the model for future consideration in other rural areas of the province left high and dry without slaughter facilities in their communities.

We took our proposal to Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and asked her to forward it through the appropriate government channels.

Since that time, MLA Barnett has supported our efforts in every possible way, working tirelessly in advising us on how to wind our way through the bureaucratic haze involving this issue, engaging her colleagues, setting up conference calls and meetings with Ministers for us. In short MLA Barnett has been fabulous.

Our proposal for veterinary inspection has received support for many corners, including letters of full support from the Cariboo Regional District, the Canim Lake Indian Band, a letter of intent from our local veterinarian, a letter of support from the BC Cattlemens Association, to name a few.

In addition, Cariboo Regional District Area G director Al Richmond, from the South Cariboo, has also fully supported this proposal in every way possible, alerting his colleagues in different regional districts throughout the province, some of which are experiencing the same frustrating lack of facilities as we are.

We are delighted that Mr. Simpson has also joined aboard this movement, seeking to improve the MIR to meet the needs of rural BC, for the sake of his constituents in the North Cariboo. Our group and MLA Barnett welcome all the support for our proposal. We encourage rural residents to have their voices heard.

Diana Wood

Lac la Hache

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