by GEOFF DALE
The regulations are part of a joint effort of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment to repeal the 1968 Ontario Dead Animal Disposal Act. They were posted on OMAFRA’s website Oct. 20.
While stakeholder consultations begin Thursday in Guelph, many farm organization representatives contacted on Monday and Tuesday said they couldn’t offer an opinion on the content because they hadn’t seen the recommendations.
“I really just wasn’t aware of this,” said Sam Bradshaw, an environmental specialist with Ontario Pork. “You would assume I’d have heard something. After all, I’m sitting on a deadstock OMAFRA BMP (Best Management Practices) committee so you would have thought I would have been on some sort of an email list for alerts.”
Ontario Cattlemen’s Association assistant manager Paul Stiles said he didn’t “know anything about this nor have I heard a thing.” He said, however, the Association’s policy advisor had checked the proposal on line and executive director Dave Stewart would attend the Guelph session.
Mary Fearon, Chicken Farmers of Ontario communication manager said her organization “can’t comment specifically now” but would be open to responding after the sessions.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture issued an email alert early this week outlining the proposals, directing its members to the appropriate website links, including the Environmental Bill of Rights Posting, which provides opportunities to submit comments.
One of the proposed regulations, under the Food and Safety and Quality Act, would address off-farm disposal of deadstock including: establishing transportation (eliminating markers), processing, storage and disposal standards and requirements to minimize the impacts on animal health and the environment.
The other, under the Nutrient Management Act, would cover on-farm disposal, setting out requirements for the disposal of more species including deer, elk, alpacas, llamas, bison, yaks, donkeys, ponies, rabbits, poultry and fowl, ratites and fur-bearing animals. The current Act only deals with the disposal of cattle, goats, sheep, horses and swine.
It would also offer more disposal options than currently available including: burial, incineration, composting, disposal vessels, collection by a licensed collector, anaerobic digestion and delivery to provincially approved waste disposal sites or disposal facilities as well as to a licensed veterinarian for post mortem.
“Protection of the environment and food safety are important initiatives of the government,” said OMAFRA environmental specialist Jacqui Laporte. “These proposed regulations are a reflection of a different time. “For example, there would be more environmental standards – setbacks from water courses, wells and field drain tiles. Again this is a reflection of changing times.”
Other consultations will take place in Verner on Nov. 4, Kingston on Nov. 17, Alfred on Nov. 18 and London on Nov. 21.
The posting closes Dec. 15 after which “comments will be considered, draft regulations will be looked at and officials will look at change and final regulations,” said Laporte. Government officials hope to conclude the process by the late spring of 2009. BF