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No meat licenses issued
Despite assurances that farm-game meat processing would occur, no slaughtering has been sanctioned yet.
In February 2013, the provincial government announced that up to five class E slaughtering licences would be allowed in the North Okanagan as part of a two-year pilot program.
“There are none in place yet” said Leah Mellott, the Regional District of North Okanagan’s electoral area general manager.
“Not a heck of a lot has come about.”
That isn’t going over well with rural Lumby director Rick Fairbairn, who says farm families and the rural economy have been negatively impacted by the provincial meat regulations that were first introduced in 2007.
“The number of livestock is down,” he said, adding that communities are not getting the response expected from the government.
“There’s frustration from potential licensees because they are running into bureaucracy to comply with the application process. They are finding the process onerous.”
However, Interior Health Authority officials insist the process is moving ahead, including a slaughter-safe training course and initial site visits of the applicants.
“The applicants are working at their own pace and are all at different stages of completion,” said Chris Russell, specialist environmental health officer, in a letter to RDNO.
“The general process is that following the initial site visit, the applicant determines how they want to proceed and goes about getting any necessary infrastructure in place. This varies between applicants. In some cases, a small building may be required. In other cases, minor changes to an existing structure is all that is needed.”
Once that work is done, Russell says his office will do a final inspection before issuing a license.
“We have not issued a license to date but one applicant is very close and another anticipates completion around May or June,” he said.
Of the five applicants, two are from the Lumby area, two from the Armstrong area and the other is at Gardom Lake.