The following article appeared on the French language website “La Terre” and forecasts the further decline of the former horse slaughterhouse Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Quebec. After LPN issued a statement in 2017 declaring a moratorium on horse slaughter due to imposed EU holding regulations, its continued operations seemed unlikely, since their remaining market consisted mostly of slaughtering deer. But recently the Quebec government ordered the mass slaughter of 3,000 deer due to CWD – chronic wasting disease, so this represents a further loss of income to the plant since those animals cannot be slaughtered for food. Will the loss of this revenue stream be the final death knell for the plant? Since the annual projection for the deer slaughter market is very small, the owners say the company can no longer continue to operate.
Please read the English translation of the article here:
The only deer slaughterhouse threatened with closure
November 06, 2018
Written by: Martin Ménard
The chronic debilitating disease (CWD) of deer threatens the survival of the Boileau deer farm, but also seriously compromises the profitability of operations of the only slaughterhouse of importance in this sector, the Meats of the Small Nation [Les Viandes de la Petite Nation]. And selling the meat of healthy animals may upset the market.
“If we lose our breeding [of 3,500 red deer which the federal government has ordered destruction], we stop everything. We will close the slaughterhouse, “says Denis Ferrer, manager of the farm and slaughterhouse located in Outaouais.
The operation of the state-of-the-art slaughterhouse and cutting room will simply no longer be profitable if it were to cut down only the animals sent by other red deer producers in Quebec. “We can not stay open for a dozen deer a week. The activities of the slaughterhouse as such were not already profitable. We had ours to ensure a high quality of meat to our customers; it was part of a global marketing environment,” says Ferrer.
He says he is open to proposals from other livestock sectors, without being too deluded. “We have already slaughtered beef for a group of breeders who had specifications and it was not profitable,” he says.
The co-owner of another Quebec slaughterhouse, André Forget, of the Viandes Forget in the suburbs of Montreal, recognizes that the slaughtering industry is difficult. “It’s not easy to find workers who want to work in a slaughterhouse. The other thing is that we have to fight giants and it costs us more here with federal inspection rules and provincial standards,” Forget said. He believes that the situation of Deer de Boileau and Meats of the Small Nation is “sad and a little catastrophic, because they had a good business.”
André Forget is not convinced however that this is the end for the Meats of the Small Nation. “They are capable people. They are located near Ottawa and Ontario; they can come back on board,” hopes Mr. Forget.
The other element of fear for red deer farmers is undoubtedly the market imbalance caused by the surplus animals slaughtered. “The total demand for all Quebec breeders is between 1,500 and 2,000 deer a year. If a company must cut 3,500 at once, it will make a very big surplus and prices could become derisory,” says Gervais Therrien, breeder and president of the Quebec Red Deer Association.
An analysis shared by Alexandre Therrien, owner of Game Canabec, specializing in the game meat trade. He does not intend to take advantage of the situation.” We want to work in the long term with the remaining breeders,” says Therrien. He maintains that the possible disappearance of his competitor Cerfs de Boileau is not positive. “They increased the reputation of deer meat and did a good job of promoting it. Together, we developed the sector,” he says.
At the House of game, Julie Rondeau has a reserve of deer meat until next January. The price is therefore not down for now. According to
her, any void left by the cessation of activities of the Cerfs de Boileau could be filled by the production of breeders from Quebec, elsewhere in Canada or from New Zealand.
The Chaudière-Appalaches breeder, Gaétan Lehoux, fears this last option. “The price is lower in New Zealand. If we are used to restaurants and our customers to buy deer from there, it will be difficult after the crisis to return to sell their meat at a higher price,” he said.
Denis Ferrer, Cerfs de Boileau, advises breeders who will remain to create a critical mass of animals. “What makes the strength of a sector is the volume, even for a small niche like the red deer. Otherwise, sales are difficult and you can not market less noble parts like offal. But to do that, it will take a lot of energy and money,” he said.