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LETTER: Decision would hurt rural Nova Scotia

Continuing their trend of centralizing decision making in Halifax, Stephen McNeil’s Liberals have hurled another insult at rural Nova Scotia.

In the name of ‘efficiency’ the Department of Environment has told Nova Scotia’s remaining abattoirs that they need to start scheduling slaughter operations two weeks in advance, and they can only begin after 8 am. These changes mean the department will be less flexible about scheduling provincial meat inspectors, who must be on site during operations.

It is a decision that is completely out of touch with the needs of abattoirs and the farmers they service. If the department insists on going ahead, one farmer told the NDP Caucus it would be “yet another nail in the coffin of rural Nova Scotia.”

Abattoirs like Dickie’s Meats have said they may be forced to lay people off, or shut down completely. Losing even one more abattoir would have serious ripple effects through the whole local food economy – from farmers markets to truck mechanics – costing jobs, impacting tourism, and reducing Nova Scotia food security.

Time and time again the McNeil Liberals have proven they are incapable of listening, but farmers are speaking out and I hope this time is different. These changes are not set in stone. The department still has time to back down and work with local farmers to keep our rural communities thriving.

Lenore Zann

NDP Spokesperson for Environment

NDP MLA Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River

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