British Columbia

Poultry farmer demands right to slaughter own animals

An Armstrong, B.C., poultry producer wants the government to issue more small-scale processing licenses.

Says large-scale meat recalls wouldn't happen with small producers

An Armstrong poultry farmer wants provincial rules changed to make it easier for small scale meat producers to slaughter their own animals. (CBC)

An Armstrong, B.C., poultry producer is demanding the provincial government change its rules to make it easier for farmers to slaughter their own animals.

Andrea Gunner says the massive XL Foods beef recall wouldn’t happen with a small-scale producer.

"As line processing speeds increase, the food quality itself decreases. And there are tons of studies, throughout the world, that show that," she said.

Regulations were tightened in 2007 over concerns of mad cow disease. Adapting to those rules cost Gunner almost $50,000 and others simply shut down operations.

"Our livestock industry has been gutted," she said.

Now the regulations are due for another change when the province takes over from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency next year.

Gunner is an agricultural economist as well as a poultry producer.

In a letter to B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, she says small-scale processing licenses should be more readily available, as it's easier to catch contamination at the source.

Letnick says he's working to find a solution that makes it easier on producers like Gunner but changes won't come at the expense of the larger "A" and "B" class processors.

"We have to find a way to continue to provide a safe meat supply to consumers at the same time that we respect the investment that 'A's and 'B's have had to make in their establishments, and also providing for more local sourced food."

Letnik says he is meeting with producers across the province to review the current system and any changes will be announced early next year.