After traveling to five communities including Williams Lake this spring and hearing 50 presentations from British Columbians across the province, the all-party Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish, and Food released its report on local meat production and inspection.
Chair and MLA for Courtenay-Comox, Ronna-Rae Leonard says 21 recommendations looking at abattoir licensing and oversight, labor force, and industry growth have been made.
“This coming week the Legislature sits again for the fall session and it will be provided to the Legislative assembly,” Leonard said.
“I’m sure that the Minister of Agriculture will be reviewing the recommendations. We can only wait and see what happens with them.”
Leonard adds she knows that there is strong interest from the Minister to see growth in agriculture.
“The recommendations were made on what we heard from people across the province: people who have abattoirs now, people who are concerned about the different classifications, and of course the different locations and the ability for people to raise their own food and have it slaughtered near their areas,” said committee member and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA, Donna Barnett.
“Mostly it’s rural British Columbia where sometimes it’s five hours away from the closest slaughterhouse so people are looking to do more clean, safe, slaughtering, closer to home on smaller licenses.”
Barnett says she hopes that action will be taken on the recommendations.
“We talk about food security and there’s nothing more important than food and of course we need to be able to assist people in small rural areas far from any big urban centers where they have facilities,” Barnett said.
The Committee according to Leonard has another mandate coming up to look at the wild fish policy.
“We’re still waiting to get the perimeters around what we should be looking at with that,” Leonard said.
“There’s an advisory committee that’s been active through the summer and we expect to see some direction soon.”