Better Beef is closing down its beef-packing plant in Guelph for an indefinite time.
Fifty-seven workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and the company is asking any employee who had contact with infected workers to get tested.
The company stopped slaughtering and is spending the rest of today to process carcasses and then everything will be shut down.
Beef Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association are asking the federal and provincial governments to activate a fund set up earlier this year to help farmers whose livestock can’t be marketed because packing plants are closed or slowed down by COVID-19.
Beef Farmers of Ontario issued a statement saying “our highest priority is to acknowledge the health of the employees and their families, and we sincerely hope all affected individuals recover well from the virus.”
Beef Farmers of Ontario encouraged its members to contact their financial institution “to discuss options for short-term support.”
It also said “if farmers are in need of a safe and judgement-free space to talk, we encourage them to call CrisisServicesCanada(1.833.456.4566) where trained responders are available at all day and night.
Better Beef, owned by Cargill, is the largest beef-packing plant east of Alberta and one of very few in Ontario that are federally-inspected and able to sell beef out of the province.
There was already a lack of slaughter capacity in Ontario before this closure.