Sackville town council to consider small-scale slaughterhouse in Industrial Park, but expert doubts the project will work

Photo displayed during online council meeting shows the proposed abattoir would occupy half of the building at 72 Crescent St. in the Sackville Industrial Park

A local expert in the meat processing business has expressed doubts that a slaughterhouse will ever be able to operate in the Sackville Industrial Park.

Jay Boudreau, general manager of Boudreau Meat Market in Memramcook which includes a farm and an abattoir, says strict health and safety regulations would make it almost economically impossible to set up a slaughterhouse there.

“They have a long road ahead, I can guarantee you that,” Boudreau said during a telephone interview.

“I’m going to encourage them,” he added. “I don’t mind having another abattoir down here, but there’s a lot more to this than people think.”

Boudreau says the 4th generation farm and abattoir he manages for his father Guy processes an average of about 50 cattle a week as well as other animals including pigs, lambs and turkeys.

During Monday’s online council meeting, town planner Lori Bickford said someone she didn’t identify has applied to set up a slaughterhouse, which would include a meat processing facility, at 72 Crescent Street.

A document released later shows that the lot on Crescent Street is owned by Richard Baughan and the person proposing to operate the facility is Chris Pierce, a local cattle farmer.

In a telephone interview, Baughan said the town’s description of the facility as an abattoir or slaughterhouse gives a misleading impression.

He added that it would be more like a small meat processing plant, although one or two cattle would be killed there each day.

“It’s a small-scale operation for local farmers,” Baughan said. “It’s more of a meat shop and we wouldn’t be selling to the Super Store or anything like that.”

In an interview with CHMA’s Erica Butler, Chris Pierce said the plan is to have a small storefront butcher shop and abattoir where customers could buy locally raised meat.

“There’s a lot of farms around Sackville,” Pierce told CHMA news, “that this spring during COVID, we had a hard time getting animals processed. So that’s I guess what really made me want to do this.”

“We’re still in the early stages here,” Pierce is quoted as saying. “I have to get the town on board.”

He did not say exactly how many cattle he plans to slaughter and process, but did tell CHMA that his eventual goal would be to handle the same number as the Boudreau abattoir in Memramcook.

Zoning changes

The project would require changes to Sackville’s municipal plan and zoning bylaws.

Town planner Lori Bickford at an earlier council meeting

“One of the challenges that we have with abattoirs and slaughterhouses is that, you know, it’s generally a more sensitive, and what you would call, a more intensive use of land,” Bickford said.

She recommended that, if the project were to go ahead, it should be zoned for intensive use with a specific development agreement that would give the town more control.

“Some examples of things that could be included within that development agreement would be no penning of animals outside the facility,” she said.

She added that the agreement could also contain provisions for controlling smells and ensuring that animals are unloaded at the rear of the building.

Bickford gave few other details about the proposed slaughterhouse and has not responded to phone calls or an e-mail from Warktimes.

View of the building from Fleet St. Red lines show portion to be used as abattoir

During Monday’s meeting, Councillor Bill Evans sounded enthusiastic.

“I want the record to show that Sackville is open for business,” he said. “This is a legitimate business. It’s an important business. I know people in the beef-producing business and getting animals butchered is a challenge,” he added.

“So I think this is a great initiative. And I really like the flexibility of the development agreement that will make sure that it’s done in a way that is satisfactory to us,” he said.

Later, during a telephone interview, Evans said he didn’t know many more details about the proposed slaughterhouse other than the information given during the council meeting.

He said he favours passing resolutions that will likely be introduced at council’s meeting next week that would lead to a public presentation and a public hearing before any changes would be made to the municipal plan or zoning bylaws.

Project won’t work

Meantime, Jay Boudreau wonders how a small slaughterhouse in the Industrial Park could operate economically when animal wastes would need to be trucked away for disposal.

“The heads and the guts, they can’t bury that on their land,” he says referring to strict health and safety regulations that govern cattle abattoirs to prevent BSE, also known as mad cow disease, from entering the human food chain.

“You can’t have blood and stuff from the slaughterhouse going into the town’s sewer system; they’ll need to put a filter underground with a pump and a tank,” he says, adding that trucking cattle wastes is expensive.

Boudreau says if he were setting this abattoir up, he’d locate it a lot farther away from the town.

He says that putting a slaughterhouse so close to town could generate local opposition.

“Especially nowadays with [concerns about] animal cruelty and the vegans and the tree huggers,” he says, “slaughtering animals is not something that the next generation is going to endorse.”

To view the report on the project from town planner Lori Bickford, click here.

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13 Responses to Sackville town council to consider small-scale slaughterhouse in Industrial Park, but expert doubts the project will work

  1. Gordon Heffler says:

    Not living in or near your Town, but in reading some of the “suggestions” that keep arriving from your local news, I can only believe your Town news ideas are similar to the Donald Trump presidency…namely “What horror show story will emerge today?” and then what will it be tomorrow? This one really takes the cake and thank goodness someone (Jay Boudreau) has the candor to do a reality check on the ramifications of such a nightmare scenario. I am not a tree-hugger or a vegan but for the sake of “anything you worship” don’t let this happen….in fact with what I read in the last couple of weeks there, are you going to consider putting a nuclear reactor in the center of town next?…almost as good an idea as this! (the view from here over the NS border thankfully)

  2. Sharon Hicks says:

    Interesting article, and is bound to generate some widely-varying views.

    From Boudreau Meat’s website, they also include this list of community benefits to slaughtering meat near where it is grown …
    1. “Benefits local economy”
    2. “Can reduce carbon footprint (no transport and offsite packaging facilities)”
    3. “Keeps money and profits in the community”
    4. “Safe quality control (instead of processing 10,000 cows a day we just do 10 because quality
    is done properly)”
    5. “Know where your food is from, and how it was raised”.
    6. “Can meet the people that raised and grew the food”.
    7. “Many people think it just tastes better.”

    That being said, if it works (and renders LOCAL benefits) for our neighbour Memramcook, why would it not also do the same for Sackville?

    Yes, there are strict regulations to follow, as in any other specialized endeavour – I just finished reading through much of that linked federal document – but that has not prevented other locations from establishing successful small independent abattoirs – such as Boudreau’s. It’s just a matter of determining what safeguards etc need to be put in place, and then planning the space accordingly. They’re not looking for a ‘major operation’ here … just a viable LOCAL option for LOCAL beef producers, many of whom currently have to ship their cattle to PEI to be butchered.

    Finally, having a small LOCAL abbatoir could mean less dependence on large “mega-abbatoirs”, which receive so much negative press these days. If there were more LOCAL options, such as we had before our food supply chain became so overly-centralized, then eventually those huge processors ‘could’ become a distant memory.

  3. Erna Ricciuto says:

    This is terrible! Sweet little Sackville will become Smelly little Sackville. This is definitely not going to attract Mount Allison University students or tourists to our town. This is not a good plan for Sackville.

    • Kathy Best says:

      I am sorry but I do not agree Erna. Most MTA students or tourists would not even know the Abbatoir was there and as far as the smell, I highly doubt there will be any. There will not be any decaying carcasses laying around to cause this. I worked in that area for 17 years and as far as students or tourists in that area, there would be very few as most ppl are not attracted to an Industrial Park.

  4. Alice Cotton says:

    And what about animal cruelty? Any regulation on how the animals are put down?

    • Kathy Best says:

      Cattle used to be put down by a maul to the head, (this is how I saw it being done several times) but now I believe the more humane way is a bullet to the head… which is the more humane way???

  5. Harold says:

    Having a local abattoir could be economically beneficial for the town, but the location needs to be seriously studied. Present and previous councils have already enabled heavy machinery operations within one block of downtown. Nearby is an automative maintenance facility and junk car storage lot along a route used by young students. Money was recently spent for a fence to hide this eyesore from walkers on the retainment pond footpaths. The town expanded this road for both industrial operations, basically providing free parking for two businesses at public expense and maintenance. I noted when Lorne St was being ‘improved’ that the sign showed a cyclist on the road. Cycling on this street today is like running the gauntlet. As one of the largest towns by area in the province, not all of our industrial operations have to be close to downtown and schools.

  6. Pat Cormier says:

    This is a very viable business – it seems as though some people think that the meat lands on trays in the store and it’s just magic – this will be done properly and hopefully we can buy the meat direct from them – hope the vegans and the other Ridiculous ideas don’t get too much attention. Ut us all about regulation and this is an industrial park after all

    • Les Hicks says:

      Hi Pat, your comment about ‘vegans and the other Ridiculous ideas’ raises an important question. Why is that non-vegans appear to be so threatened by, and are so prone to personally insult and ridicule, people who are following their consciences when it comes to the welfare of the non-human species that we share this planet with?
      To answer this question, it is worth examining changes in public opinion on various issues throughout the years. Human slavery was common and was not abolished in British North America (Canada) until the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect in the British Empire, including British North America, in 1834 ( not quite 200 years ago).
      The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals was established in 1840 (180 years ago). It’s main focus was working animals like cart horses and pit ponies that were used in terrible conditions in coal mines, but gradually it’s work extended to improve the lives of companion animals as well.
      The London Society for the Protection of Children was founded in 1884. At that time, children as young as 8 ½ years old who were born into poor families worked in horrendous conditions in factories and other industrial settings. After five years of campaigning by the London SPCC, Parliament passed the first ever UK law to protect children from abuse and neglect in 1889 (only 131 years ago).
      After years of organizing and protesting by women involved in the Suffrage movement, women were given the right to vote in Canadian Federal Elections in 1918 (only 102 years ago). Asian women and men were denied the right to vote in Federal elections until 1947, and indigenous women and men were not given the right to vote until 1960 (only 60 years ago).
      Looking back on issues like these in relatively recent times, in which the general public opinion was dramatically altered as our society became more civilized and enlightened, are folks like yourself so frightened and offended by those with other views because you subconsciously worry that in years to come history will judge you the same as it has judged people in the past who have also held the ‘us and them’ philosophy and denied rights and privileges to other races and species? As far as I am aware, vegans and ‘tree huggers’ that I know do not personally attack those who still consume animal products, but we do try to make whatever improvement we can in the lives of others and in our environment by changing our own lifestyles, and we hope that in years to come (considering the accelerating effects of human induced climate change we might not have that many), we will see a gradual change in the public attitude as we have seen in the past with other issues.
      I do find it difficult to understand the inconsistency in many people’s attitudes, in which they feel and display love for their companion animals like cats and dogs, but yet somehow turn a blind eye to the horrendous suffering of the various species of animals in industrial scale factory farms and the large slaughterhouses that ‘process’ hundreds of thousands of animals each year. I can’t state this for a fact, but I have a strong hunch that if everyone that eats animal products had to slaughter the animals themselves, or personally witness the horrendous conditions in factory farms and slaughterhouses, the number of vegans in our society would increase dramatically very quickly. Mahatma Gandhi, who was largely responsible for India gaining its independence from British rule through a philosophy of non-violence, has been quoted on many subjects, but two of them are particularly relevant to this discussion : “…I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”, and “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
      Getting back to the specific issue of the proposed abattoir in the industrial park, Sharon made some good points regarding potential advantages of smaller scale, localized abattoirs. I would add to those the advantage that the animals slaughtered in these facilities are not subjected to the hours and hours packed in transport trucks without food or water, in extremes of temperatures, that the majority of animals endure on their way to the industrial scale slaughterhouses where they endure more well documented forms of cruelty before they are finally killed. I do object though to the proposed location of the abattoir so close to our town center for the reasons already expressed by Mr. Boudreau and several other readers, and I encourage our Town Council to turn down this proposal.

    • blissb says:

      Hi Pat, there’s no need to be antagonistic about vegans. I understand some go over the top however there are a lot who respect your values and live by their own. I don’t eat cows or pigs but I’m not outright against this idea, I just want to be sure that the animals are being put down in the most humane way possible.

  7. Percy Best says:

    This ‘expert’, Jay Boudreau, Operations Manager of Boudreau Meat Market, would be facing competition if a small abattoir opens in the Sackville Industrial Park and I guess when a competitor moves in, then the manager of an existing business may certainly tend to be overly critical to demoralize the new competition and try to keep them out. It sure casts doubt on Mr. Boudreau’s negative comments.

    It will be great to see another business located in our ever growing Sackville Industrial Park. Thank goodness that there are people like Richard Baughan and Chris Pierce willing to take such a financial gamble in our town while dealing with so many naysayers and the mounting pile of red tape they have to plod through. GOOD LUCK!

  8. Gordon Heffler says:

    Please don’t let the following be your town….Town for sale for anyone with an idea and money to spend…be it a rainmaker, excelsior saleman, or maybe someone wanting to setup a military weapons test facility or nuclear power reactor…all are welcome just bring money….this Town’s for sale!

    • Kelly Alder says:

      If you actually lived in this town and owned a business you’d know the only thing that seems to matter to the town hall is MTA. Time for the council to allow some business interests again as who knows how long the province of nb will be able to divert tax payers dollars to pay the property tax bills for these so called non profit universities. Yeah mta has an endowment of somewhere north of 200 million and they don’t pay their share like others in business must.

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