Canadian farmers grow and raise quality food for all of us, but some farmers have seen the health of their animals and Canada’s food supply put at risk by activist groups.
That’s why I’ve seconded Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act—a private member’s bill put forward by my Conservative colleague, MP John Barlow.
Bill C-205 imposes stiff penalties for groups and individuals who trespass on farms.
Recently, more and more individuals and protest groups have been trespassing on farms and food processing centers. This has the potential to cause massive biosecurity issues for animals and the individuals that work with them.
Even the Liberal Minister of Agriculture has spoken out about the “unacceptable actions” of “extremist” groups protesting on dairy farms, but her government has failed to take steps to remedy these situations.
With this Bill, Conservatives are taking action. Bill C-205 will help protect biosecurity for farms by amending the Health of Animals Act to make it a serious 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.
The Act currently provides for the control of diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals or that may be transmitted by animals to persons. However, the Act only applies to the owner of the animals. Currently there is nothing which addresses trespassers, which is what this Bill aims to change.
Protecting Canada’s food supply is critical. Viruses like African Swine Fever pose a very real threat to Canadian agriculture and our food supply, with the potential to decimate livestock herds and devastate farmers.
In today’s global marketplace it is critical we protect the integrity of Canada’s supply chain and ensure our food remains safe to eat and sell. Strengthening biosecurity measures for trespassers is something farmers, ranchers, food processors, farm groups, and commodity organizations all support.
I am proud to support Bill C-205 and I call on the Liberal government to do the same.