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Thread: Feedback on BC Abattoir System Inspection Review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Tlell, Queen Charlotte Islands

    Feedback on BC Abattoir System Inspection Review

    This is an important document that will change the world as we know it! Yet again!
    The CFIA is currently the contracted supplier of meat inspection services to the BC government. As a recent Federal budget withdrew the funding the CFIA uses to maintain a fleet of inspectors they are now required to get rid of their inspectors. This means they can no longer supply meat inspection services to BC. They are obligated to supply services to December, 2012 but not beyond.
    Therefore, the BC government is considering what to do.
    Remember, when the “new” meat regulations came into force in 2007 their main thrust was to ensure every animal was inspected by a certified inspector (veterinarian!) before and after slaughter. They simply ignored the fact that there are many places in the Province without Class A and B slaughter facilities and we were hooped. We finally got that fixed and now they are faced with a different problem.
    The two main issues right now are 1) the elimination of the budget required to support “for hire” CFIA inspection services by the Feds and 2) the need for many smaller facilities to operate on the weekends to accommodate producers who have full time, off-farm jobs. (Federal employees are not known for their willingness to work on weekends.)
    This proposal from a working group identifies two ways to operate the system and asks for input on which of the two is best.
    Suggested System I uses a team of Provincially certified and paid inspectors present at every slaughter. Suggested System II allows the slaughter person to be the inspector, subject to periodic Provincial verification. There are other variations but this is the main issue: inspectors or no inspectors in Provincial facilities, very close to what we had prior to the 2007 regulation changes. (Note this has no effect on Federally licensed plants except they don’t have any inspectors either so they must hire one and pay him/her and tell them what to do, subject to CFIA oversight.)

    We fought hard to change the BC regulations to allow farmers to slaughter animals for sale because farmers are directly responsible to their customers and continually scrutinized by them. Class A and B slaughter plants are also responsible to their customers but I don’t think anyone but a plant director would argue that responsibility is on the level of Maple Leaf Foods and shareholder responsibility rather than between individuals and families. Therefore it seems to me the fundamental question behind this discussion paper turns out to be that of a corporation’s responsibility to its shareholders rather than to its customers. (There are not very many A and B licensed facilities that are not corporations.)

    In today’s neo-conservative business world many would argue a corporation’s responsibility is to its customers because by harming customers a board of directors is not serving its shareholders interests. However, the short term future of boards of directors and their incentive programs ensures profit trumps caution every time.

    As people familiar with and experienced with animal slaughter we can offer valid comment. Do we want our meat plants to inspect themselves or not?

    The discussion document is 7MB, a huge file. I will forward it to anyone who wants it but have avoided attaching it here. Most information is also available at www.health.gov.bc.ca/protect/meat-regulation/.


  2. #2

    The inspection review

    Hiya, I'll comment on this.
    Firstly my operation was one of the 6 licensed abattoirs that was part of a stakeholder consulting group answering some of the questions the BC gov't had about what should happen after the CFIA pullout.
    This is a way more complicated thing than anyone could imagine. I also don't believe we can just go back to the way things were pre 2007. Too much has changed, too many more agencies are involved.

    Just an FYI of the list of licensed processors in the province (current one) found here
    I'd say that more than half are small operations, and they'll lose it all if the reg is scrapped.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    Mahatma Gandhi

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