The following letter has been sent to Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs minister Leona Dombrowsky:
As you are aware, the producers of Rainy River District are in an
impossible position with regard to our ability to eat meat produced on our
farms; we do not have an abattoir, so our meat cannot be inspected, and we
are unable to legally continue to eat this good, wholesome food in the manner
we have been doing since our great-grandparents’ time.
Therefore, although it is illegal, we will continue to share meals, which include farm-raised meat, with family and friends. We will continue to pack our own—and our school children’s—lunches with hearty home-grown food and when we send them off to college, we will continue to send our own produce to ensure they have affordable and nutritious food.
If you would have us comply with regulations, you must provide us with the means to do so.
We know that most producers feel it is their responsibility to provide good food to their families and immediate communities. We are all aware that due to the regulations, we are deprived of a possible way to provide to the surrounding community, but we will not break the promise of providing for our immediate family regardless of the regulations.
The Meat Act puts every producer in a position that they cannot slaughter and process their meat in a safe environment. Our only option is to slaughter and process the animal on the farm.
This is done, in most cases, in sub-standard conditions without permissible supervision of a professional. The potential of food-born illness is now many times higher than it was before when we were able to make use of the services of a professional and an inspected meat facility.
We have offered OMAFRA several solutions on how to solve our disastrous situation for the interim, but have received no response.
Time is of the essence since animals are slaughtered every day. Since OMAFRA is not reacting to our situation, all the responsibility of any potential food-born illness incurred through our practice, which we are forced to take, is solely the responsibility of OMAFRA.
Chair, Local Food
for Local People