Abattoir licences

Avian Influenza Guidelines for Slaughter Establishments

In light of the recent outbreak of AI in British Columbia, the Ministry has developed a guidance document that is intended for people who work closely with birds and bird by-products in meat processing facilities such as abattoirs and slaughter establishments.

Please refer to the Guidance for Meat Processors Handling Bird Mortalities (PDF 134 KB).

The ministry’s Meat Inspection Program issues Abattoir licences under the Meat Inspection Regulation of the BC Food Safety Act.

NOTICE: On October 1, 2021, important changes to meat inspection and licensing in B.C. came into effect which create new licence categories, and to allow more modernized inspection approaches. Review the public announcement here.

All existing Class A and B slaughter establishment licences have been transitioned to Abattoir licences.

Regional health authorities will continue to provide oversight of further processing and retail sales to the public.

See below to learn more about applying for an Abattoir Licence.

Provincially licensed abattoirs are found throughout the province. These establishments are permitted to slaughter and are required to have a Meat Hygiene Inspector present to inspect animals before and after slaughter.

Meat produced in licensed abattoirs can only be sold within the province.

Note: All interested parties should confirm with local authorities that zoning allows for building and operating a slaughter establishment. Applicants should contact the Meat Inspection Program for further information before proceeding with building an establishment, as well as completing the following steps.

  1. Review the Code of Practice for Licensed Abattoirs (PDF, 629 KB)
  2. Obtain written confirmation from relevant authorities such as a local government or the Agricultural Land Commission (if necessary) that the proposed site is zoned for this activity
  3. Register for a Premises ID
  4. Submit the application package to provincialcoordinator@gov.bc.ca containing:
    1. Application for Slaughter Establishment Licence, and
    2. Zoning approval
  5. A Meat Inspection Program staff member will contact applicants to review the application and any further steps required in the application process, such as a site visit
  6. Submit slaughter establishment building plans to BC Meat Inspection Program for approval

The B.C. Meat Inspection Program permits emergency slaughter of animals at a provincially licensed abattoir or on a farm when a Meat Hygiene Inspector is not present. In either of these situations, emergency slaughter must occur under the supervision of a veterinary practitioner. The Establishment Operator and Animal Producer Agent Emergency Slaughter Guidelines (PDF, 233 KB) detail the requirements and obligations for conducting emergency slaughter under the authority of the B.C. Meat Inspection Program when a Meat Hygiene Inspector is not present.