JAS says no to small poultry farmers obtaining a butcher's licenceWednesday, November 24, 2021
JAMAICA Agricultural Society (JAS) has expressed concern about a recent call by president of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors Karen Brown for small poultry farmers to obtain a butcher's licence.
“While we understand the factors that have motivated Ms Brown's call, and we recognise that the small poultry farmers contribute some 40 per cent of the total 134,000 tonnes [of meat, according to 2019 figures], such a move is inherently more harmful than productive,” said a JAS release.
“Firstly, the position of a butcher is one of significant standing in the community. It would be neither practical nor entirely desirable to license the large and growing number of small poultry operations, and to ensure that they keep to minimum acceptable standards.
“That leads into the other area of concern. With difficulty in establishing the bona fides of all the small operations — and we are mindful of the ongoing 'meat-for-guns' trade being conducted with Haitian nationals – it would not be ideal, from a security standpoint, to open up the licensing regime,” said the JAS.
The group said a better way to maintain public health and safety standards would be to make mobile abattoir units available to go into the various producer communities and conduct the slaughtering under prepared, sanitary conditions, which will then be regulated.
Government, said the JAS, is moving to strengthen the legislative framework governing poultry farming through the promulgation of poultry hygiene regulations, now in the draft stage, which it said is certainly a welcome development, “and one which we hope is seen through to completion and effect with alacrity”.
Said the JAS: “We also welcome the focus on public health inspectors to continue to remain vigilant and to support small poultry farmers across the island in their ongoing bid to have greater adherence to food safety standards, through direct intervention as consistent and comprehensive public education.
“Let us work to provide safe, sanitary and well-ordered mechanisms for the vital production of poultry to feed the nation, uplift the economic status of farmers, and enhance the overall well-being and safety of the public.”