Abattoir needs concerted effort: Gunner

The search for organic, local meat products continued as the development of a mobile slaughter unit took a step forward.

The search for organic, local meat products continued as the development of a mobile slaughter unit took a step forward. Andrea Gunner, a poultry farmer from the North Okanagan and an agricultural consultant, spoke to a group of around 25 meat producers, manufacturers, and city officials, about her experience with developing and using a Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) in her area. The presentation took place the afternoon of Oct. 28 at Community Futures in Grand Forks and was sponsored by the Boundary Country Livestock Co-op.Gunner also spoke later that evening at an open house meeting also at Community Futures.Attending the afternoon meeting were also dignitaries such as mayor Brian Taylor, regional director Roly Russell, and councilors Bob Kendel and Cher Wyers.“I thought it was really encouraging to see retailers such as Kootenay Coop (from Nelson) and others,” Taylor said. “I think people are really looking for organic meat products. There’s plenty of opportunity to sell it. It’s just a matter of the agriculture society getting their I’s dotted and their T’s crossed and taking it forward.” Taylor said the society has recognized there are some hurdles to get through, such as how to deal with docking stations and how to deal with the waste. “If they’re able to deal with that it bodes well for the area,” he said.Kendel was also impressed with the presentation from Gunner.“She’s obviously very knowledgeable in all aspects of these mobile slaughter houses,” he said. “It was great to have her there and explain everything to everybody there. It’s key for everyone to understand how the provincial part of it marries into the local part of it.”Kendel said that one thing that came up, was that the organizers need to meet with the regional district to determine how to deal with the waste product. “From what I heard, it’s going to take a very concerted effort from the producers to make it happen,” said Taylor. “There isn’t enough profit in it for them to hire a manager or coordinator for it. It’s a really big project. I really hope the enthusiasm of the producers keeps it going.”

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