| Jan 22, 2024
Updates on Bill C-275, Bill C-355, and Bill S-270
Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support of Farmed Animal Welfare. We are pleased to share updates with you since our last report.
Bill C-275, titled An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act (biosecurity on farms), seeks to make it an offence for those “without lawful authority or excuse” to enter a place where animals are kept to prevent possible exposure to contaminants such as toxic substances or disease. What it effectively does is silence any legitimate protest or documentation of activities on farms, legal or otherwise, similar to other agricultural gag or “ag-gag” laws enacted by a handful of provinces. As this is a federal bill it would seek to make this type of activity a federal offence.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food began their study of this bill on September 28th. Dr. Toolika Rastogi, Senior Manager of Policy and Research at Humane Canada was invited to speak at the October 5th meeting by the Montreal SPCA.
Dr. Rastogi spoke first about Humane Canada’s history of collaboration with the agricultural industry to improve standards of care for farmed animals through the National Farmed Animal Care Council (NFACC). Dr. Rastogi went on to suggest that the reason that Canadians may not have trust in the animal agricultural system is because of its lack of transparency and public oversight and proposed that rather than a bill that contains harsh penalties for trespassing and whistleblowing, what is needed instead is increased transparency, accountability and oversight. She stated that at the root of the problem is the current system that involves housing large numbers of animals in ways that do not allow for their good health and welfare, referring to the avian influenza pandemic as an example of the risks that these housing conditions can create.
Bill C-275, has since passed the third reading in the House of Commons. It has moved into the Senate where it has undergone first reading and is currently awaiting second reading. The language in the bill was slightly amended from first to second reading after review by the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food, with the addition of intention-clarifying statements:
No person shall, without lawful authority or excuse, enter a building or other enclosed place in which animals are kept, or take in any animal or thing, if their entering such a place or taking in the animal or thing could reasonably be expected to result in the exposure of the animals to a disease or toxic substance that is capable of affecting or contaminating them.
These additions could lend a defence to animal activist groups who are protesting legitimate and potentially unlawful treatment of animals at production facilities as to the intent of their actions.
In other news, Bill C-355 and Bill S-270 are at second reading in the House of Commons and Senate respectively. Both bills propose to prohibit the export of live horses by air for the purpose of being slaughtered, but the language and proposed amendments of each bill differ somewhat from one another.
Senate Public Bill S-270, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act, will prohibit the export of live horses and other equines for slaughter under section 19, if the person knows or should reasonably know that the horse or other equine is being exported for the purpose of being slaughtered or fattened for slaughter.
Sponsored by Kitchener-Conestoga Member of Parliament Tim Louis, Private Member Bill C-355, An Act to prohibit the export by air of horses for slaughter, would amend the Customs, Canada Border Services Agency and Canadian Food Inspection Agency Acts to prohibit a person to export a horse from Canada by air without the appropriate written declaration and supporting documentation as indicated by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. No departure of the aircraft would be authorized with the horse onboard without appropriate delivery of a copy of the declaration and the horse could be detained by the chief customs officer until it has been received.
Bill C-355 is at second reading debate in the House of Commons and S-270 is awaiting second reading in the Senate and both can be followed in the links below.