Photo: Kilchiro Sato Associated Press
The capacity of hog slaughter in Quebec runs around 150 000 or 160 000 animals per week, for a weekly production of about 140 000. However, the number of pigs in the “waiting” these days is between 60 000 and 70 000.
The direction of Olymel is working “very hard” with “all partners” on a plan to reopen the slaughterhouse of pigs of Yamachiche, closed for two weeks on the 29th of march because of several cases of COVID-19 among the staff of 1000 employees. Such an outcome, which could take place early next week, to be greeted with a sigh of relief for the farmers.
“The first concern is the health of workers and the fight against the COVID-19, said Friday the spokesman for Olymel, Richard Vigneault. Now that it is in the community, it is a challenge. “When the decision was taken to close the plant, there were nine cases among the workers. There are now a hundred, he said in a telephone interview. Even if the company is planning a re-opening after the holiday pascal, this is ” not formal “, yet has he said.
The dashboard on the evolution of the coronavirus in Quebec and in Canada
The reopening plan has brought together many partners around the table, according to Mr. Vigneault. In addition to the public health authorities of the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec, the effort brings together the canadian Agency of food inspection, the trade union of Workers of the united food and commercial (UFCW) and the standards Commission, equity, health and safety in the workplace (CNESST). The package of measures of the protocol includes, for example, of the protective equipment, but also the installation of panels separators when the distance proves to be difficult between the employees.
“The main issue for the re-opening, it is having the manpower available, said a spokesman for the UFCW, Roxane Larouche. There is a list of employees who can’t be contacted, because public health does not yet allow the return to work of those people. Then, what remains to determine is how many people will be able to return Tuesday to the slaughter. “
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In order of importance as to the number of employees, the factory in Yamachiche is the third slaughterhouse pig to Olymel in Quebec, behind Vallée-Jonction and Saint-Esprit. The slaughterhouse Agromex (F. Ménard), located in Ange-Gardien, has seen over fifty cases, “but the company is in function” and it is “managed with the public health,” said Mr. Vigneault.
Pigs ” waiting “
Furthermore, Olymel and the pork producers of Quebec, which represent 1800 firm, have discussions about the supply. “What we want to avoid, it is that there are slow-downs or closures at this point that they prevent us from defeating it, and it comes as a last resort to felling humanitarian or on-farm euthanasia. This is what everyone wants to avoid, ” said Mr. Vigneault. The goal, said the director general of the Breeders, John Larose, ” to make a constant evaluation of the evolution of the capacity to slaughter and how we can adjust to that.”
In the meantime, the prospect of a reopening of the slaughterhouse in Yamachiche at the beginning of next week is a “good news,” said Mr. Larose. After that, the discussion was to see if we can find other scenarios of increased slaughter capacity in Quebec, or outside, though outside is a bit more difficult, because it is in a north american environment “.
The capacity of hog slaughter in Quebec runs around 150 000 or 160 000 animals per week, said Mr. Larose. The production is approximately 140 000 per week. The number of pigs in the “waiting” these days is between 60 000 and 70 000. “In an annual cycle, these are things that happen in the industry, this is not “exceptional”, said Mr. Larose referring to a situation that is manageable for the moment.
During this time, the Fédération du commerce-CSN, wrote to prime minister François Legault about the safety in the processing industry of meat, where it accounts for 4000 workers. “We are quite aware of the important issues that cause the slowdowns of the slaughter and processing of meat for the future of the industry,” wrote its president, David Bergeron-Cyr. “However, we believe that maintaining operations at a normal level, this will facilitate the establishment of better measures of safety and will prevent the spread of the virus and the possible complete closure of other facilities. “