“Made in the Robson Valley” may be a sticker you’ll see in the grocery store’s meat aisle if one resident sees through his plan.
McBride resident Mike Monroe says, despite several delays, he is working hard to open his slaughterhouse on Mountainview Road, a few kilometres outside the village.
The small-scale slaughterhouse would simplify the butchering process for local farmers by offering them a local place to butcher, cut and wrap their meat. Because the meat is provincially inspected, once cut and wrapped, the meat can be sold to restaurants and grocery stores.
Currently, unless they have a farm gate permit, local farmers are burdened with high costs and long wait times to ship animals to Barriere or Prince George for slaughter in order to sell their meat. The wait can be months, making it hard for local farmers to produce and sell meat on their own timeline.
The slaughter facility was set to open last year, but Monroe’s agreement with a butcher fell through. Monroe says he then advertised for a new operator over several months, across Canada, but received no interest. He is now looking abroad and just received a Labour Market Opinion from the government, which would allow him to bring over an immigrant. He says he is talking to a Master Butcher from Austria who specializes in sausage.
The new plant already has the go-ahead from government, having received a Class A license for the abattoir. Monroe plans to butcher up to 20 animals a week under his business Monroe Creek Meats Ltd. The license allows him to process cattle, pigs and poultry.
Once up and running, the facility will be a boon for secondary manufacturing in the livestock industry, Monroe says.
“The potential for those small hobby farms in the valley is huge; but it’s all predicated on being able to market the product.”
He says this way people can market their meat in a more profitable way.
“They don’t have to sell a side of beef; they can sell it by the sausage.”
Monroe intends to run the facility five days a week and employ three to four people, and slaughter just once a week. On slaughter day, a licensed CFIA inspector will need to come to McBride to inspect the carcasses to ensure they meet food safety and animal health standards established under the Food and Drugs Act and the Meat Inspection Act.
Local restaurant owners have already pledged to buy local meat processed in the facility.
By: Laura Keil