A spokesperson told GlobalMeatNews that the proposed regulation would make it possible for safe animals that are unfit for transportation to be slaughtered on farm, but that roadkill or animals found dead on the farm would not be allowed to enter the food chain.
“The CFIA is in no way proposing to allow deadstock to be processed for human consumption. Deadstock is not, and will not be, allowed to enter the food system,” the Agency said.
Earlier this week, the Canadian National Democratic Party (NDP) claimed that, under the new rules, “already-dead meat and crippled animals’ meat” would be authorised to enter the food chain, compromising Canadian citizens’ safety.
“First the Conservatives will let private inspectors monitor meat, and now they are essentially allowing roadkill-ready meat into the food supply. Even scarier is the fact that we won’t know how long animals have been dead before processing – or even that the meat will be inspected at all,” said Malcolm Allen, NDP critic for agriculture and agri-food.
But the CFIA said that on-farm slaughter would be done under strict veterinary supervision. “For example, in a situation where an animal has been injured, such as a broken leg, it would be inhumane to transport the animal to slaughter. In such cases, a veterinarian would perform a detailed examination of the animal prior to slaughter to ensure that it is safe to enter into the food system. The same stringent inspection requirement would apply upon arrival at the meat processing facility,” the spokesperson added.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) welcomed the proposed reform, arguing that it is the health and safety of farmers that is at risk when loading and transporting an aggressive or injured animal. “This is a common-sense proposal that will allow the meat from injured or aggressive animals to be safely harvested in a manner that is respectful to the welfare of the animal and does not put public health or safety at risk.”
CCA added that, at the moment, farmers with a healthy but injured or aggressive animal had to either seek approval to ship the animal live to a registered slaughterhouse, or have it euthanised and pay for its disposal. “Neither of these are practical options,” the association added.
The CFIA insisted on the fact that only animals deemed safe would be allowed to enter the food system. “The proposed changes to allow for inspected on-farm slaughter would follow clear procedural rules and would not have an impact on food safety,” it said.