Hog, poultry groups welcome proposed animal health legislation

National hog and poultry groups are welcoming proposed legislation aimed at mitigating animal health risks from trespassers on farms.

Conservative shadow minister for agriculture and Foothills MP John Barlow introduced Bill C-205 on Tuesday.

The private member’s bill would make it an offence under the Health of Animals Act to enter, without lawful authority or excuse, a place in which animals are kept, if by doing so could result in exposing the animals to a disease or toxic substance. It would also increase the penalties for groups and organizations who encourage individuals to threaten the biosecurity of animals and workers.

“Recently, more and more individuals have been trespassing on farms and food processing centres,” notes Barlow. “This has the potential to cause massive biosecurity issues for animals and the individuals who work with them.”

Barlow says the Act currently provides authority for controlling diseases and toxic substances with respect to the owner of the animals, but it does not address trespassers.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, and Canadian Meat Council all say they support the proposed legislation.

“The CFA supports in principle, and encourages, MP John Barlow’s private members bill to support Canadian farmers who have been negatively impacted by activism. We believe that the introduction of this bill is an important and necessary step in the right direction,” says CFA president Mary Robinson in a statement.

“Intrusions on a pork farm cause a breach in the biosecurity protocols in place to protect the health of the animals and puts their care in jeopardy. Supportive measures such as Bill C-205 to deter trespassing, acts of breaking and entering, acts of vandalism and intimidation are very well-received by pork producers,” explains Rick Bergmann, chair of CPC.

The animal health bill was one of two private member’s bills related to agriculture that were tabled by the Conservatives on Tuesday. The other, if passed, would exempt fuel used for on-farm heating and grain drying from the federal carbon tax.

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