Canadian province of Alberta relaxes animal slaughter rules after pandemic hits packers

FILE PHOTO: A small herd of cattle stand in a dry pasture on the Canadian prairies near Rockyford, Alberta June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canada’s main livestock-producing province, Alberta, said on Wednesday it would allow animals to be slaughtered on farms for sale as meat to consumers, easing regulations after the coronavirus pandemic halted production at its largest packaging plants.

Alberta previously restricted the consumption of meat from animals slaughtered outside of government-inspected plants to farmers and their households. Some itinerant farmers and butchers, who travel from farm to farm, wanted the provincial government to relax the regulations so that they are more in line with those of other western Canadian provinces.

Under revised regulations that came into force on Wednesday, meat from animals killed by mobile butchers and farmers licensed to carry out uninspected slaughters can be sold directly by farmers to the public, a ministry spokesman said. Agriculture, Justin Laurence.

This meat cannot be sold in stores.

Coronavirus outbreaks halted production this spring at several Alberta beef plants, leaving feedlots with a backlog of cattle ready for slaughter and driving up retail meat prices.

“Alberta beef producers have been asking for increased processing capabilities for several years and this is a positive step forward,” said Kelly Smith-Fraser, producer and president of Alberta Beef Producers.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Peter Cooney

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