The Video Ante-Mortem Inspection (VAMI) program allows for an ante-mortem inspection by video for animals that cannot be transported to an abattoir so that they may be humanely slaughtered on site.
After the animal is bled, the carcass is transported to a provincially-licensed abattoir. There, additional activities related to the slaughter are completed and a post-mortem inspection is conducted according to Alberta’s Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and Meat Inspection Regulation (MIR).
The meat may be sold if both an ante-mortem inspection and a post-mortem inspection have been conducted and passed, and the meat has been deemed fit for human consumption.
Species that can be slaughtered under the VAMI program are limited to domestic livestock including beef and dairy cattle, bison, cervids, hogs, sheep, lamb and goats.
VAMI can be performed only under the following circumstances:
- an animal is unfit for transport
- an animal is compromised and cannot be transported without resulting in additional suffering
- an animal is difficult to transport (in other words, it cannot be loaded or transported without endangering itself, another animal, or a person)
- an animal has escaped (provided they are contained in order for a suitable video ante-mortem inspection to be performed)
- any other circumstances prescribed and published by the Director
- There is no cost for the VAMI program. However, the licensed abattoir operator may charge to accept and process the carcass. The first step in the VAMI process is to contact a licensed abattoir operator to confirm they can and will accept the carcass.
- In some cases, appointed inspectors may assist with the VAMI and may charge a fee for this service.
To submit a video of an eligible animal
Step 1. If you do not already have an Alberta.ca Account, create a new account:
Step 2. With your Alberta.ca Account:
- Video Ante-Mortem Inspection: Guidance for producers and abattoir operators
- Video Ante-Mortem Inspection – Operator Responsibilities
- Video Ante-Mortem Inspection: Instructions on how to access the VAMI online tool to submit a video of an eligible animal
VAMI program provisions
- The VAMI program is available on regular inspection days from 7 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these days and hours an appointed inspector may also be hired to perform the VAMI or to conduct both the video ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections at a provincially licensed abattoir.
- Prior to submitting a video for ante-mortem inspection, arrangements must be made with a licensed abattoir operator to arrange for the VAMI and the post-mortem inspection.
- The life of an animal is not to be extended to meet the VAMI program time frame, if it prolongs pain and distress for the animal.
- The owner of the animal, or the individual who initiates VAMI on their behalf, assumes the responsibilities associated with a safe and humane slaughter.
- Licensed abattoirs are not under any obligation to accept a VAMI carcass. Arrangements must be made with a participating licensed abattoir operator before video is submitted.
The stun and bleed of the animal must NOT be conducted without prior approval from a government-authorized inspector.
Other options for emergency animals
The VAMI program may not be able to assist in all cases due to limited inspection resources or availability of licensed abattoirs. Also, for some cases, rural connectivity to the internet may limit participation in VAMI as an internet connection is required to access the online VAMI tool and submit a video. Alternative slaughter options available to producers include:
- Appointed Inspector Program: registered veterinarians can act as inspectors in Alberta if they are licensed by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.
- On-Farm Slaughter Operation (OFSO) licence: if the animal is situated on land belonging to an individual who also has an OFSO licence, the animal can be sold prior to slaughter then slaughtered. The meat resulting from this carcass is uninspected and is for consumption by the customer and the customer’s immediate household only. The uninspected meat cannot be further sold, traded, gifted, bartered or distributed.
- Licensed Mobile Butcher: if the producer would like to salvage the meat for consumption by their household, a mobile butcher may be contacted to perform the slaughter onsite. The meat resulting from the carcass is uninspected and cannot be sold, traded, gifted, bartered or further distributed.
- The producer: if an individual owns the animal and the land where it is located, they can slaughter the animal themselves without the need for a licence. The meat is uninspected and is for consumption by the producer’s household; it cannot be sold, traded, gifted, bartered or further distributed.
- Euthanize the animal: the animal can be euthanized onsite without a licence, and parts of the carcass may be used for non-human consumption like bait or animal feed. All parts of the carcass that are not salvaged must be disposed of as per the Disposal of Dead Animal Regulation.
Connect with the VAMI program: