Bill C-275, a private member’s strengthening on-farm biosecurity via the Health of Animals Act, is heading to committee.
Vanguard to construct Canada’s first compound fertilizer manufacturing facility
Vanguard Crop Nutrition Inc. (VCN) has begun construction on a compound fertilizer manufacturing facility in Maitland, Ont. It will be…
Alberta Conservative MP John Barlow’s bill was referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on June 21 after receiving 313 votes to amend the Health of Animals Act.
The committee will hear from witnesses and review the bill clause-by-clause before adopting it with or without amendments to face a third reading in the House of Commons.
The proposed bill would make it an offence to enter a place where animals are kept without lawful authority or excuse if doing so could result in a biosecurity risk.
The amendment also adds significant fines to organizations that encourage trespass into livestock zones but do not hinder whistle-blowers from reporting practices that jeopardize the safety and welfare of livestock.
Camille Labchuk, lawyer and Animal Justice executive director, pointed out in an email to Farmtario that Alberta and Ontario have existing provincial legislation which makes on-farm undercover investigations illegal, and Bill C-275 would impose double jeopardy on those who attempt undercover investigations.
She said that animal Justice lawyers are currently suing Ontario to strike down its ag-gag law and are working tirelessly to defeat the threat of ag-gag laws across the country.
“Instead of a maximum $10K provincial fine, it could then impose up to half a million dollars or jail time,” Labchuk explained. “All for working on a farm and documenting what is seen.”
Labchuk argued MP Yves Perron’s comments in a previous article published in the June 12 edition of Farmtario alleging a 2019 sit-in of a swine operation by animal activists caused disease was unfounded.
“There is no evidence that the activists were associated with the rotavirus outbreak at the Porgreg farm in Saint-Hyacinthe,” she wrote.
“An analysis of samples from the farm showed, in fact, that rotavirus and PRRS (basically pig pneumonia) were present in the pigs. Genetic sequencing showed it was the same PRRS virus that had been present two years previously on that farm.”
The report by provincial veterinarians found no link, and it was Labchuk’s understanding the prosecutor withdrew the charges related to the alleged outbreak.
According to government data, disease outbreaks are usually attributed to standard farming practices or poor biosecurity protocols by farm operators, said Labchuk, never from animal advocates.
“The bill completely lets farmers off the hook,” she continued in the email. “It’s clear that the bill is intended to keep concerned citizens out of farms, all to hide rampant animal abuse in the meat industry.”