Last spring the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) and contracted Agriculture Support Workers in the Alberni Valley launched an abattoir feasibility study to investigate the livestock production necessary to support an abattoir in the Alberni Valley.
A $10,000 contract was granted to Janco Associates Business Consulting to administer the study.
The development of a local abattoir and keeping that initiative at the forefront remains a priority for the support workers as part of the Alberni Valley Agriculture Plan.
“That idea kind of came out in phase one,” said Heather Shobe, Agriculture Support Worker. “We were doing surveys of what people need, what farmers need and abattoirs were on the list for almost everybody.”
Sixty-three farmers in the ACRD responded to the survey. Sixty-Seven per cent of those respondents said they would expand livestock production if there was a local abattoir. The feasibility survey was the first step in obtaining information from local food producers.
“[The study] was actually very positive… so that’s another piece we’re really going to be trying to move forward,” Shobe said.
With the lack of red meat processing facilities in the Alberni Valley, local farmers face issues when traveling elsewhere on the Island to slaughter their animals.
“Right now people are having to wait months and months to get animals [to a facility] and then the animals have to be shipped across the Island and left there over night so it’s really stressful for the animals and for the farmers,” Shobe said.
Local farmer, Ann Collins of Arrowvale Farm and Campground thinks having an abattoir in the Valley would be beneficial to farmers who now have to travel across the Island to a meat processing facility.
“I phoned up [Gunter Bros. Meat Co.] in the middle of August to get a September date for our beef kill and they told me we couldn’t get in until November,” Collins said. Although Collins believes a local abattoir is needed, she’s skeptical it wouldn’t be sustainable.
“It’s very unlikely that we’re going to have one because in order to support a local abattoir you need a lot of meat,” Collins said. “There’s not enough producers to support a local abattoir because they’re gone.”
A meeting to present the abattoir feasibility results will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 7- 10 p.m. at Beaver Creek Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend. Murray Coates who wrote the study will be in attendance.
To access the feasibility study visit www.acrd.bc.ca.