The Debate Begins
Debate begins on my Bill to Protect on Farm Biosecurity.
On May 1st, I began the second reading of my Private Member’s Bill, C-275 which is An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and preserve biosecurity on farms. This Bill will make it an offence to enter, without lawful authority or excuse, a place in which animals are kept if doing so could result in the exposure of the animals to a disease or toxic substance that is capable of affecting or contaminating them.
After putting forward this Bill in the last Parliament, I have once again committed to protecting the biosecurity and health of animals in addition to our farmers and ranchers’ mental health by tabling Bill C-275. The protection of animals, farm families and workers will always be my priority when it comes to farms and processing facilities. It is becoming all too common for individuals or groups to trespass on farms and food processing facilities. This has the potential to cause massive biosecurity issues for animals and endanger the individuals who work with them.
In its current state, this Act provides for the control of diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals or may be transmitted by animals to persons. However, the obligations and prohibitions presently apply in respect of the owner of the animals. Currently, there is nothing which addresses trespassers which is an oversight this bill aims to change.
This Bill will in no way limit an individual’s right to peacefully protest on public property, but will increase the penalties for groups and organizations who encourage individuals to threaten the biosecurity of animals and workers. It is now more important than ever to protect Canada’s food supply as viruses like African Swine fever, Avian Flu and Foot and Mouth Disease are more prominent and present a real threat to Canadian agriculture and our food security. In the last Parliament, this Bill as C-205 was widely supported and still continues to be championed as a necessary measure to protect animal biosecurity by ranchers, food processors, farm groups and commodity organizations.
Trespassing on farms and processing facilities affects so many individuals across our country. After hearing from a local family in my riding who owns a free-range turkey farm who were distraught after a number of protesters had trespassed on their farm, I am proud to push for positive change and defend the mental health of our farm families and protect the physical welfare of animals that comes from unlawful.