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    Meat Rule Changes Slammed

    By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star
    Published: April 27, 2010 7:00 PM
    Local politicians believe new meat processing rules ignore the North Okanagan’s needs.

    The provincial government has introduced two new categories of licences to B.C.’s meat inspection regulations.

    “It’s a positive move for up north but it doesn’t easily accommodate our needs,” said Buffy Baumbrough, a Vernon city councillor who has been fighting the regulations since they were created.

    One of the new licences (Class D) will permit geographically-restricted sales in nine designated areas while the other licence (Class E) allows for the on-farm slaughter of a small number of animals annually for direct sales to local consumers in rural communities that cannot support a fully licensed facility.

    The North Okanagan is not one of the nine designated areas for Class D licences, and North Okanagan Regional District director Rick Fairbairn believes Class E will be too restrictive.

    “I don’t see it helping our problem,” he said.

    “It won’t give a break to small-scale producers for farm-gate sales. There’s a general discontent from the farming community on what’s been presented.”

    Baumbrough says Class E training isn’t available yet, and believes the process to get such a licence could be too bureaucratic for producers.

    “It’s not even clear if they can get a Class E licence here,” he said, adding that the North Okanagan should be one of the Class D distinct areas in B.C.

    “I want the application of the regulations provincewide.”

    Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, supports the new licence categories.

    “Local farmers and ranchers asked me to encourage government to take a second look at how the regulations were impacting them,” he said in a release.

    “With their help, we were able to find a good solution that balances health protection with freedom to operate their businesses efficiently.”

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