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Thread: Meat

  1. #1
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    Meat

    Correction: finally I found the legislation that explicitly prohibits selling unpasteurized milk. Even though this dairy had milk in retail stores they were just pick-up points for share holders.

    The recent Milk Militia action in Chilliwak has flagged the fact that it appears to be legal to sell raw milk products in BC but the various Health authorities recommend against it. The choice is left to the consumer. It seems logical meat should be managed the same way.
    This would have no effect on larger farms close to good abattoirs but would benefit farms not within economic reach of a facility. Inserted below is a comment I posted on the COABC list. What do you think?


    In light of the meat regulations where we are all beaten with big sticks….I was always under the impression it was illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in BC but clearly I was wrong. So is the choice really left up to the consumer? Why isn’t meat regulated in the same way? Why can’t real people simply choose to buy from either a supermarket or a farmer, as with dairy?
    Obviously also, there is no restriction against re-selling unpasteurized product either as the resellers are listed in the bulletin.

    This is the quandary we face with meat. The best solution would be for nice, clean, thriving abattoirs to be flashed into existence in all places in the province so everybody would have the option of complying with the new regulations. However, there just isn’t a business case for facilities (factors of low production volume and low population numbers) in a great number of communities so they aren’t there now and will not be there for some time to come, if ever. If some whimsical effort materializes one somewhere how can it be managed as a part-time operation?

    So what’s wrong with managing it the same way dairy is managed? People can choose once given the option. Can you imagine how the folks at Home on the Range Raw Dairy are coping right now? Any farmer who made people sick would be shunned the same way and probably be out of business, left only with the option of trucking his animals to a livestock auction or an abattoir…….Duhhhh!

    Farmers in BC without economically realistic access to a licensed processing facility have only two real options other than giving up on raising meat. One is to advocate for subsidized facilities in every community and the other is to advocate for some degree of return to on-farm slaughter and direct marketing as we did without incident in the past. I think its pretty clear which option is nice and which option is reasonable. There is a caveat, though. If we return to some degree of on-farm slaughter farmers must be permitted to sell to resellers, otherwise we are forever marginalized, sidelined. As with dairy the resellers dealing directly with farmers would probably be local niche markets rather than Cargills: restaurants, country stores, fall fairs, baseball games, etc.

    So what do you think? Are we ready to lobby for a specific option? Up until now most of our efforts have been towards pointing out how ludicrous the new legislation is. Is it time as a group to lobby for a specific solution? Government has said they will not change the legislation but may consider tweaking the regulation. Have I missed any variables other than going underground? Where should we go from here?

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill; January 12th,2010 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    I think another angle to take will be the recent thrust by government to reduce green house gasses. Local food production is important for that, especially when we have been faced with transport of livestock to processing, then transport of meat back to be sold from the home farm. It makes much more sense to have on-farm processing, and local sales, just like we used to have. Meat could also be processed on a demand basis and at the best time, instead of a schedule that may require the farmer to hold the stock (and feed the stock) longer than necessary. Let's crunch some numbers.

  3. #3

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    So what do you think? Are we ready to lobby for a specific option? Up until now most of our efforts have been towards pointing out how ludicrous the new legislation is. Is it time as a group to lobby for a specific solution? Government has said they will not change the legislation but may consider tweaking the regulation. Have I missed any variables other than going underground? Where should we go from here?
    Bill
    I agree, we need to figure out a solution and present it to the governing bodies, as they've proven they are unable to come up with solutions on their own, and are woefully out of touch. All one has to do is read the letter from Ida Chong to know that she unfortunately has no clue as to how many abattoirs would be required to service our province. Saying the number of licensed plants has increased is all well and good but when one looks at how many unlicensed plants have ceased to funtion her numbers are bunk. The only people who know what farmers and abattoir owners need are the abattoir owners and farmers themselves as they have direct communication with their customers.
    We need to develop a plan and present it in a calm and researched manner in order to be heard. I don't know what the answers are but I'm willing to help find out a solution.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  4. #4
    Dennis Lapierre
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    Peggy,
    Do you know the names and locations of the other mobile abbatoirs in BC, what they process and how they are making out with their approaches?
    I know we've talked about this, but I've lost track of who they are and where they are situated.
    I'd like to see if they would be interested in offering comments on this forum.

    Dennis

  5. #5

    Sure thing Dennis, I'll email you that info. I don't feel comfortable posting their info on a public forum without their permission.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    Mahatma Gandhi

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    There is another issue embedded in this cause and that is the ethical treatment of livestock. For example: We had a beautiful Angus steer, when his time came, it took over an hour to get him into the transport trailer, an hour and a quarter to take him to the slaughter facility and another hour to get him out of the trailer. When I looked at him last, his dejection and broken spirit were all too real. Later we found the adrenalin he had produced was evident in the meat. The next steer was a scruffy mixed breed who among his other bad habits was fence jumping. I lay awake just thinking about loading him, so we dropped him right while he fed, bled and quartered him and delivered the quarters to a meat cutter. Result. Better meat, clear conscience, safety enhanced for all concerned. Too bad it was illegal. I had somebody at BC assessment tell me that any moneys received as a result of this could not be reported as farm income. CRA doesn't agree. He was for use "in family" so it is a moot point.

    I believe that the meat regs have little to do with food safety and everything to do with consolidating our food supply into the hands of a few huge corporations.

  7. #7
    Dennis Lapierre
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    What Canada Revenue Agency defines as farm income is different than BC Assessment's definition. For example, I make value-added wool products, saddlepads for the horsey folks. It's a way of adding value to my sheep. The feds count the income from that as farm income. Not so BC Assessment. BC Assessment will only count raw, not processed materials.

    Other provinces have switched and now use the feds definition. This province should do the same. It would especially help the small farmer and encourage the growth of small enterprise.

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    I heartily agree. On farm value adding makes the difference between profit and loss in the over all operation. What BC Assessment and their political masters need is about three days without food.

  9. #9
    Dennis Lapierre
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    The other aspect to this that I think generally applies is that, as commodity growers we are price-takers, not price-makers. What I mean by that is as price-takers, we are obliged to take whatever the market dictates is the worth of the product. When I sell lambs to the commercial buyer, what he is willing to pay me is whatever the market price is for that day, as set by auctions in various parts of the country. If I want to sell my lamb that way, I take what I'm offered.

    Though not comparing the same thing, with my wool products I'm able to establish an independent value for my product. In that sense, it being a value-added activity, I become a price-maker and have greater control over the value and marketability of my commodity by first, being able to make it into something and next, being able to establish a value for it independent of what else might be out there.

    Having the option to do more with the commodity offers greater potential for innovation and profitability.

  10. #10

    Hello: I am new to this forum but I am wondering if someone could post some of the solutions that are being considered regarding the meat regulations. Thanks.

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