Southern Alberta man accused of slaughtering sick and injured cattle, selling uninspected meat
A southern Alberta man is charged with selling uninspected meat and improperly disposing of cattle body parts after complaints were filed late last year alleging his livestock operation was slaughtering sick and injured animals.
Alberta RCMP said Peter Wiebe, 59, of Wheatland County, faces multiple charges in connection to his Crocus Coulee Livestock business, for which he has an on-farm slaughter licence.
Const. Lyle Korver, with the RCMP livestock investigative unit, said Wiebe was allegedly selling uninspected meat and failing to label the meat as uninspected.
"When you slaughter uninspected meat, you have to label it as such," Korver said.
On its Facebook page, Crocus Coulee Livestock said it supplies beef, goat and lamb to customers in southern Alberta. The operation is based in Wheatland County, which is just east of Calgary.
Public complaints prompt investigation
The investigation into Wiebe began in November following a number of complaints alleging that sick and injured cattle were being slaughtered at the business and uninspected meat was being sold to consumers.
According to RCMP, the sale of uninspected meat "has potential to result in severe illness or death, as it has not been determined safe for human consumption."
All meat from an on-farm slaughter operation is technically uninspected. Legally, however, an on-farm operation can sell a live animal to a customer, who can then have it slaughtered and processed for the sole consumption of their household. The meat cannot be sold, gifted, bartered or otherwise transferred.
Additionally, livestock owners can bring their cattle to the on-farm slaughter operation for processing, but the meat must be returned to the owners of the animal.
Beyond selling uninspected meat, Wiebe also failed to properly care for animals on his property, which led to unnecessary suffering and sickness, investigators said.
Inside the slaughterhouse
According to the Mounties, Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials and RCMP investigators entered Crocus Coulee Livestock on Feb. 21, encountering workers who were in the process of slaughtering animals.
At the site, officers found 36 dead calves, over 100 tags from slaughtered cows, and discarded livestock body parts outside the facility. Images released by RCMP showed limbs and other discarded body parts piled in a snow-covered heap.
In a statement, the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said that on-farm slaughter operations are required to adhere to the Meat Inspection Act and Regulation, which makes it clear that uninspected meat is not for sale and stipulates how businesses can dispose of cattle body parts.
"Licensees are required to read all legislative requirements and acknowledge they are responsible for food safety, animal welfare and disposal," the statement said.
The ministry said it checks on-farm slaughter operations the same way it does mobile butchers, conducting periodic reviews and following up on complaints from the public.
Wiebe is facing six charges in connection to his operation:
Causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
Allowing animals to be in distress.
Unlawful disposal of dead cattle.
Dealing in livestock without being licensed.
Selling uninspected meat.
Failing to label meat as uninspected.
Wiebe is not in custody, officials said. He is slated to appear in provincial court on March 24.