To the Editor:
According to the NDP, proposed changes to Canada’s meat inspection regulations (MIR) will leave Canadians wondering if the meat they buy is actually safe. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) called the claims “irresponsible and inaccurate.”
In a release yesterday, the party said the federal government’s proposed changes as to what meat is acceptable could lead to “roadkill” being allowed on dinner tables.
“First, the Conservatives will let private inspectors monitor meat, and now they’re essentially allowing road kill-ready meat into the food supply,” stated Malcolm Allen, NDP critic for agriculture and agri-food. “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.”
“In the 1970s, Quebec had no meat processing regulations, meaning already-dead and crippled animals’ meat entered the food supply, causing the ‘rotten meat’ scandal,” added Ruth Ellen Brosseau, NDP deputy critic for agriculture and agri-food. “The industry collapsed, and federal regulations were created as a result.”
John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the CCA, said the NDP’s claims are “flat-out not true.”
He said the proposed regulation the NDP is talking about would see farm animals that are injured allowed to enter the food system if the animal is otherwise healthy and approved by a veterinarian.
“In these rare cases, if an animal has a broken leg or something like that, but it’s still perfectly healthy, the farmer’s choices are really to put that animal onto a truck, or euthanize it on the farm and pay somebody to dispose of it,” Masswohl said. “Neither of those are very good options.”
He added that if the regulation goes through, it gives farmers an option that is respectful of “the need to treat animals well” while also recognizing the animal’s economic value to the farmer.
“I really see it as a win-win because it doesn’t affect food safety in any way whatsoever,” Masswohl said.
Alan MacKenzie, Troy Media Corp.