Discussion of private member’s bill 275 gets heated

There was pushback this week, as the commons ag committee debates bill 275.

The bill was introduced by Alberta tory MP John Barlow. It’s an amendment to the health of animals act, to make it illegal to trespass into barns or facilities where animals are kept.

Barlow says it stems from an incident a few years ago on a turkey farm near Fort McLeod. This week, the committee heard from Camille Labchuk a lawyer with the group Animal Justice.

“Farmers are responsible for most biosecurity issues…it tends to be standard farm practices like sharing needles, having wild animals access barns, and contaminated equipment used across different areas that spread disease.

“This bill seeks to weaponize genuine concerns about infectious diseases and animal and human health in order to increase protection of private businesses from bad publicity. It’s time to pause and consider why it is the public trust in farming is so low, and I would say its not because people are misinformed, it’s because they see video after video of animals being beaten on farms, animals with severe medical conditions who don’t get treatment, and animals being killed in brutal ways.” Labchuk stated before the committee.

Ontario Tory MP Lianne Rood, a farmer herself, took exception to the comments made by Labchuk and this excerpt was the discussion that followed.

The committee will continue to research bill 275 following the Thanksgiving break.

(With files from Dean Thorpe, CFCW)

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