One hundred and sixty Salt Springers gathered at Fulford Hall on the 12th November to celebrate our abattoir’s fourth birthday. We ate local food including turkey from Black Sheep Farm, pork from Redwing farm and vegetables from farms cross the island, all cooked by Matt Rissling and friends from Rock Salt and Jana’s pies. We drank wine from Salt Spring Vineyards and Mistaken Identity, local beer and cider, kombucha and apple juice; and listened to music by Yael Wand and mc’ing by Arthur Black. And special thanks go to the Pegasus Gallery of Canadian Art and Country Grocer for their contributions to the silent auction.
Doesn’t get any more local than that.
In its fourth year of operation the abattoir is pretty much debt free, close to breaking even financially, and employing 4 staff. Not only that but this year we completed a $30,000 upgrade, introduced hog processing and are ready to begin processing beef when the abattoir opens for a new season in spring 2017. Riley Byers the abattoir operations manager, is going on a 10 week training course in Kamloops in the new year. Numbers of animals going through the facility are increasing every year and we like to think that the abattoir had a role to play in the growth from 2008 to 2015 reported in the 2015 Salt Spring Livestock Inventory.
While eating less meat is beneficial, animals have an important role to play in local sustainable food systems. What’s the alternative if we don’t have a local abattoir? Animals shipped off island for slaughter which is stressful for both farmers and animals, farms going out of business, and more meat imported in from distant, inhumane and polluting factory farms in Alberta by truck or plane, adding to greenhouse gas emissions and traffic. That’s why our abattoir is too small to fail.