Slocan Valley abattoir rescued

The only poultry abattoir in the West Kootenay will continue to operate this year at its Slocan Valley location.

Kyle Weibe of Beasley will be taking over the operation of Passmore Pluckers

Kyle Weibe of Beasley will be taking over the operation of Passmore Pluckers

The only poultry abattoir in the West Kootenay will continue to operate this year at its Slocan Valley location. Kyle Weibe of Beasley will operate Passmore Pluckers for its owners, Alex Berland and Judi Morton.

Berland and Morton, who are retiring, have been unsuccessfully trying to sell the business for more than a year. This has been a concern for many poultry producers who rely on the abattoir to process their birds, and for advocates of local agriculture who saw an important piece of agricultural infrastructure disappearing.

Weibe, who grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, runs his own construction company and has a small farm in Beasley. He planned to start raising chickens but then realized there would be no abattoir to process them. So he’s going one step further, and has taken on the job of running Passmore Pluckers under the mentorship of Morton and Berland.

“Word is trickling out,” Weibe told the Star. “We have not done any advertising because Alex and and Judi and I are figuring out who is doing what this year.”

Berland says that for producers the abattoir’s operation will be business as usual, including its capacity to process organically certified meat.

“We want to reduce the number of adjustments necessary for both Kyle and the customers,” he said. “This means producers can book their chicks and start preparing for another growing season. This is good news for the producers because they can count on the same humane service, with a government inspector checking every bird while it is alive and after it has been slaughtered.”