Agriculture Minister Announces Regulatory Changes
Alberta’s Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen made a special announcement regarding recent amendments to the Province’s Meat Inspection Regulations near Lavoy on July 29.
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs, County of Minburn Reeve Roger Konieczny, County of Two Hills Councillor Murray Phillips, and Town of Vegreville Councillor Dave Berry attended the official announcement.
Minister Dreeshen said the changes will cut red tape and provide Albertans with greater access to locally produced meat while maintaining food safety. “These amendments modernize Alberta’s Meat Inspection Regulations and align us with our partners in other provinces.
Alberta produces the world’s best beef, pork and poultry products, and Albertans want better access to these products. These common-sense changes will also provide new economic opportunities for Alberta ranchers and provincial abattoirs. Albertans value knowing where their food comes from and are proud to support local farm families. These amendments modernize Alberta’s Meat Inspection Regulations and align us with our partners in other provinces.”
Keith Lehman, Chief Provincial Veterinarian, said the changes make new tools available for meat inspectors, like video pre-slaughter inspections, and provide the changes come as a result of consultation with industry and other stakeholders, and include:
- Increased licensing options for personal use slaughter. Consumers can now buy an animal direct from the farm and have the animal slaughtered on-site for their personal consumption.
- Allowing provincially licensed meat facilities to salvage and sell meat by-products. As a result, abattoirs will be able to expand into markets that use meat by-products for human consumption, pet food, and wildlife bait.
- Allowing for video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations. Abattoirs won’t have to wait for an appointed inspector to arrive in person on-farm to perform an inspection if animal welfare is at stake.
“I am proud that Alberta farmers produce the world’s best beef, pork, and poultry products. Our farmers have the ability, and eagerly want to provide their products locally here in Alberta. The new agriculture changes will give farmers and ranchers more opportunities to sell locally. I personally value knowing where our food comes from and prefer to shop locally,” stated Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.
Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs said the common-sense changes are critical producers and processors and come at a time when they need it the most. The changes will also provide opportunities for individual and smaller producers to open their own businesses. “I’m hearing more and more people are looking for opportunities to buy and support local producers.”
Roger Konieczny, Reeve for the County of Minburn, said the changes will allow those animals that go down to be salvaged with the mobile butchering, and there is some value in having that service available to producers and feedlots.
“I applaud the amendments the government has made to the regulations, both as a veterinarian and a cow-calf producer. As a veterinarian, I feel that allowing video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations is a huge step forward for animal welfare. One of the changes I appreciate, in particular, as a cow/calf producer, is the increased access to locally sourced meat products for consumers, while ensuring food safety,” said local rancher and veterinarian Margitta Dziwenka.
Melanie Wowk, Vice Chair of the Alberta Beef Producers said the changes are welcome news. “It’s something the ACP has been asking for and will give producers the ability to harvest their animals on the farm and for the public to buy direct from the farm. It will also allow for video of anti-mortium inspection so livestock can be salvaged.
Since 1973, the Meat Inspection Regulation and the Meat Inspection Act have provided oversight for animal slaughter and meat processing in Alberta. The legislation also provides authority for abattoir and mobile butcher licensing.