Directors want meat licenses issued

A decision on meat regulations can’t come soon enough for local politicians.

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee voted Thursday to write the provincial government and demand slaughter licences for North Okanagan farmers.

“We’re losing patience with the status quo,” said director Rick Fairbairn.

“There’s a decline in farming because of punitive regulations.”

The number of North Okanagan producers has gone from 1,200 to 300 since meat processing regulations came into force in 2007.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick stated last  week that he expects a decision on regulation changes will be announced within the next few weeks.

Fairbairn is skeptical that the issue will be resolved soon.

“We were expecting to hear something by Christmas and here we are and there’s still nothing,” he said.

Fairbairn is also concerned that new rules could be delayed by the provincial election in May.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has been pushing for the issuance of D and E slaughter licenses locally to support farmers and farmers markets.

“There is an exempt status (from the regulations) in 10 areas in the province so it’s not a public health issue,” said Fairbairn.

“People want food that’s genetically modified-free and they want a choice that farm gate sales can provide.”


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