One Spallumcheen councillor continues to demand changes to the provincial meat inspection regulations.
Christine Fraser fired off a one-page letter to provincial agriculture minister Norm Letnick the morning after she met with the minister at the UBCM convention in Victoria, disheartened by what Letnick said in the meeting.
“You said you’re going to meet with Class A facility owners and ‘go for a couple of beers’ to see how they feel,” wrote Fraser. “I don’t know a business owner anywhere that is going to tell you that they don’t need more business.”
Fraser said in her letter that five mobile slaughter units set up to service the North Okanagan are now gone, and that the Class A monopoly has resulted in small-scale producers shutting down.
Adding to her frustration is that the morning after her meeting with Letnick, she discovered that other municipalities around B.C. had no idea the issues being faced by North Okanagan producers.
“They want their agricultural committees and the B.C. Agriculture Council to support us but they haven’t heard of our issue,” said Fraser, referring to the fact that the North Okanagan has never been issued Class D and E meat inspection licences so on-farm slaughtering can occur.
Fraser received unanimous support from council (though Coun. Todd York was absent from Monday’s regular meeting) to forward a motion to Letnick calling for his ministry to change the policy in meat inspection regulations that would allow unlimited Class A licences and at least eight Class D licences for local slaughtering.
“And I’d like to see the policy changed before Dec. 31 and the motion added to the CivicBC website so all municipalities can have a look at it,” said Fraser.
Mayor Janice Brown also recommended forwarding the motion to the Southern Interior Local Government Association.