The Abattoir Division of the Department of Agriculture provides safe, sanitary, and humane slaughtering services for livestock farmers in the Virgin Islands. The Abattoir is staffed by the Director, Mr. Cardinal Richardson, and by personnel trained in quality control and sanitation, as well as a chief butcher, additional butchers, an industrial engineer, and a livestock attendant. Operations at the Abattoir are regulated by laws of the Virgin Islands. Title 19 of the VI Code deals with pens and slaughterhouses (Chapter 69). Title 19 requires that all animals whose meat will be offered for sale in public places be slaughtered at government-controlled slaughterhouses which are subject to inspection and approval by the Commissioner of Health. It is against the law for any person to slaughter or arrange for the slaughter of any animal or animals that will be sold, bartered, or exchanged outside of government-controlled slaughterhouses. However, any individual who slaughters an animal solely for his immediate household use is exempt from this requirement.
In addition to the VI Code, the Abattoir Division is also subject to federal laws. All animals brought to, and meat produced at, the abattoir are inspected by an official from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and stamped as safe for public consumption. Dr. Barrett is the USDA Inspector who works at the abattoirs on St. Croix and St. Thomas.
On St. Croix, animals are slaughtered on Monday and Tuesday each week. Before bringing an animal to the abattoir for slaughter, farmers must first get a movement permit from the Veterinary Services Division. The permit is intended to control the spread of animal pests.
Title 19 also regulates fees charged for this service. This law states that the Commissioner of Agriculture shall supervise and regulate the operation of slaughterhouses in the Virgin Islands, and shall fix the rates or fees for such services, subject to the approval of the Governor. All fees received for the use of government-controlled slaughterhouses are remitted to the Commissioner of Finance and then to the General Fund of the Treasury.