Alberta to allow direct farm-to-consumer meat sales under new rules

The province is making changes its regulations so consumers can buy individual animals from ranchers and have the meat processed on site. 

Small producers and hunters have called for changes

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen announced the changes while standing in a pasture about 100 kilometres east of Edmonton on Wednesday. (CBC )

The province has changed its regulations so consumers can buy individual animals from ranchers and have the meat processed on site. 

Under current rules, all animals have to be processed in a provincially approved slaughterhouse

Updated regulations, announced Wednesday by Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen, will allow the slaughter and processing of an animal on site. 

The work can be done by a licensed mobile butcher, or the producer themselves, if they obtain their own butchering licence.

Dreeshen said that will help producers sell to consumers who are interested in supporting their local food industry. 

"The unique part of these regulation changes is that they can sell directly to a consumer," he said. "So the meat essentially from an animal, the animal itself, is being sold to a consumer."

Small producers and hunters have called for these changes. Some argue slaughtering an animal on site is more humane than the measures used in large industrial abattoirs. 

Earlier this year, Dreeshen's ministry carried out consultations about the possibility of farm-to-consumer sales. 

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened consumer concerns about the safety of the food supply, particularly after outbreaks at the province's two large meat processing plants.

The changes also speeds up the process when an animal needs to be put down for humane reasons. Inspections can be done via video instead of having to be done in-person by a provincial inspector.


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