Coun. Robert Parker said people concerned about the direction of the local food market in light of Nova Scotia Turkey Marketing Board's decision to prohibit Gordon Fraser from processing turkeys need to attend the meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the West River Fire Hall.
"Gordon needs a reprieve to be able at least to butcher the turkeys out there," Parker said, adding that Fraser's business should be grandfathered to allow him to continue operating and the operations of the marketing boards should be the ones put under the microscope.
"We are up against the odds and sometimes the marketing boards are too strong," he said. "People want local food."
Fraser, the only person who has been butchering turkeys professionally in Pictou County, said he had two people come into his shop and tell them he had to stop killing turkeys because of a complaint they received.
Nova Scotia Turkey Marketing Board told him he’s not allowed to butcher turkeys because he isn’t registered with the board and doesn’t have certification from the province to say he’s an inspected site.
Lori Ansems, chair of the board of directors for the Turkey Marketing Board, said these rules have long been in place. She said they are more than willing to allow Fraser to operate his butcher shop if he gets certified with the province and then sends that proof to be registered with their board at no cost. She said it is a matter of food safety.
Coun. Chester Dewar said not having a processor in Pictou County will hurt more than Fraser.
"Think of the spin-off jobs," he said. "There are feed stores and the companies that count on people growing their own turkeys. Kids make a few bucks growing and selling their own turkeys. It is just like everything else. They forget the little fellow."
Parker also mentioned a petition signed by more than 900 people supporting Fraser and passed on to Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane who will present it in the fall sitting of the legislature.