by SUSAN MANN
Ontario’s livestock groups are planning to discuss and submit comments on Ontario agriculture ministry proposals for mandatory animal disease reporting and financial compensation.
The two regulations to the Animal Health Act, 2009 “would allow the province to respond more quickly and effectively to reduce the impact of animal disease outbreaks,” it says in a discussion paper on the proposals.
“If passed the regulatory proposal would help protect Ontario families and strengthen Ontario’s economy because they will help keep animals safe and our agri-food industry strong,” the paper says.
As part of the regulations, the ministry is introducing a list of diseases and other hazards that animal health laboratories and veterinarians are required to report to the ministry.
The proposal doesn’t require individual livestock and poultry producers to report any knowledge or suspicion of a hazard to the agriculture ministry, it says in the posting on the province’s Environmental Registry. The proposed regulation would not affect any existing reporting obligations farmers may have to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In addition, to ensure farmers can participate in the animal health response system without fearing financial losses and to ensure diseases are reported quickly, a proposed regulation will enable the minister to financially compensate farmers whose operations have been affected by the legislation.
The regulations have been posted on the province’s Environmental Registry. Comments are due by April 27.
LeaAnne Hodgins, communications manager for the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, says by email the organization doesn’t have an official comment at this time but it will be reviewing the document before the April 27 deadline for comments.
Ontario Pork communications manager Keith Robbins says their staff members are reviewing the discussion paper and will be presenting it to the board sometime after next week’s annual meeting. “We haven’t formed a position yet.”
If their comments are consistent with the Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council they’d be making a joint submission with that organization, he says.
Gord Coukell, chair of the Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council, says by email their members are very pleased the provincial agriculture ministry is moving forward to develop regulations under the Animal Health Act. The council’s members will be discussing the ministry’s document at its next meeting on April 13.
The council will be making a submission to the ministry “based on the feedback received from our members,” Coukell says.
The council supported the development of the Animal Health Act.
The Livestock and Poultry Council was formed in 2005 to develop and coordinate an Ontario strategy to manage foreign animal and other transmissible livestock and poultry diseases. There are 27 regular, three associate and six ex-officio members, including livestock and poultry groups, farm service, feed processing and veterinary organizations. BF