New legislation supports local meat sales

  • Dec. 4, 2009 7:00 p.m.

Local meat sales may be back on the table after a new bill was introduced in the BC legislature. The member’s bill was introduced Nov. 24 by NDP MLA Nicolas Simons and it amends the Food Safety Act, making it less onerous for small producers to slaughter and sell meat. The current legislation requires that all meat offered for sale must be processed at federally licensed facilities, few and far between in some areas of the province, including the north. “Forcing farmers to ship their animals hundreds of miles for processing not only makes local meat unaffordable, it also puts undue stress on the animals and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lana Popham, NDP agriculture critic. The new legislation would allow farmers in certain areas to slaughter at their farms and sell the meat to individuals. Bill Mackay and Ralph Leach, both Tlell-based members of the Islands Farmers’ Institute, recently traveled to Victoria to discuss local concerns and said the bill covers most of the points important to islanders. “Except the entire meeting agreed it was essential for farmers to be part of the local economy by being able to sell meat for local re-sale rather than stamped “Not for Resale,” says Mr. Mackay. He says this would allow restaurants, stores and events to offer local meats and bring small, diversified farms into the local economy. “Farmers want to be part of the normal world rather than be stuck behind a farm gate!” he said.

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