The federal government has launched a consultation period until June 16, 2023, on proposed changes for Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations (Identification and Traceability). The Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions said it needs the help of the ag industry to amend the proposal.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay
Fairs, exhibitions, agricultural societies, and their provincial and national associations are asking anyone who is affiliated with livestock at animal shows to submit feedback on the proposed amendments to Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations, expressing concerns about the potential impact on their industry.
A consultation period through June 16, 2023, has been launched by the Canadian federal government—and because there are significant areas of concern for the sector, the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions is calling upon the ag community for help.
The objective of the National Livestock Identification and Traceability program is to provide accurate and up-to-date information on livestock identity, movement, and location to mitigate the impact of disease outbreaks, food safety issues, and natural disasters. While the fairs and exhibition industry support the program and its objectives, it said it is concerned the proposed changes would place an increased burden on its operations—something it said it can not bear.
“We agree that supporting a streamlined national traceability system is essential to consumer confidence and animal health and safety,” said Kryssie Thomson, Interim Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. “We are happy to support that in ways that do not jeopardize the survival of our members, and in ways that are efficient and make sense.”
Thomson said that there are over 5,000 animal events across Canada that would be at risk, with more than half of those involving 4-H or youth because more than 75 percent of the fairs, exhibitions, and agricultural societies surveyed said they will be negatively impacted by the proposed requirements, and will subsequently have to cancel shows.
Key areas of concern include animal movement and tagging.
The CFIA is proposing that fairgrounds would be responsible as the intermediate site, to record animal/carcass movements to/from the fairgrounds within seven days to the responsible administrator.
Some 83 percent of people involved in shows and events with animals are volunteers, dedicating an estimated 844,000 hours annually across Canada to these programs, and are already facing volunteer shortages for the work that currently needs to be done.
Two-thirds of exhibitors have said they would be willing to be responsible for reporting their animal movements to/from the fairgrounds if the process was simple and direct.
The Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions said it would propose that the movement of animals to/from fairgrounds be reported by the farm of origin. The farm of origin would continue to be responsible to ensure all animals sent to fairgrounds have approved intact/undamaged indicator(s).
In short, current regulations denote that if an animal loses its tag while on an intermediate site, the operator of the site must apply a new approved indicator to the animal, with the indicator being issued to the intermediate site, and report and record accordingly.
Some 90 percent of the exhibitors agreed they do not want the intermediate site (fairground) tagging their animal with an intermediate site tag. Another five percent reported they were unsure about the concept.
It is not practical nor safe for the facilities to be responsible for animal tagging.
Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions said that it would be willing to enforce proper tagging protocols by ensuring all animals who arrive onsite have tags and by restricting participation until animals have been tagged.
It proposes that the owner/farm of origin is responsible for providing and applying approved indicators, issued to the farm of origin (not the fairgrounds/ intermediate site), to be applied to animals should a tag be lost or removed while on the intermediate site (fairgrounds) and will foster compliance with its own rules and regulations.
The Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions industry urges the CFIA and the federal government to consider the unique challenges faced by fairs, exhibitions, and agricultural societies in implementing the proposed regulatory amendments.
It asks anyone who is affiliated with livestock at animal shows to follow the step-by-step instructions to submit comments to the Canada Gazette before June 16, 2023.
“It’s important to balancing traceability objectives with the sustainability of the industry and the promotion of agriculture to the public,” said Thomson.
The association's full position statement, the link to the Canada Gazette portal, as well as itscall to action for Canadians, is available at www.canadianfairs.ca/livestock-traceability.