Bill 62 strengthens a piece of animal disease legislation
By Diego Flammini
Two pieces of Manitoba legislation have been enacted to help protect rural residents and the province’s agricultural sector.
Bill 63, the Petty Trespasses Amendment and Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, went into effect on Oct. 15.
The bill makes entry onto certain premises without permission an offence, unless the person has a lawful reason for his or her presence.
This includes farms and ag equipment storage facilities.
In addition, amendments to the Occupiers’ Liability Act “ensure a landowner’s responsibility for injury is fair and reasonable when someone is on their property without permission,” the provincial government said in an Oct. 15 release.
Rural crime has been an issue in Manitoba.
In 2017, the province’s rural crime rate was 42 per cent higher than its urban crime rate. And rural property crimes occurred 5 per cent more than urban property crimes.
Farmers work the land they live on and raise food for the public to enjoy.
Producers and their operations must be protected from trespassing and biosecurity risks, said Ralph Eichler, Manitoba’s ag minister.
“Trespassing is an important issue in rural Manitoba, because every landowner has the right to have their property respected,” Eichler said in the release. “Farms and rural property need to be protected as a business, but also as people’s homes. Trespassing can expose farms and food production facilities to biosecurity risks that could spread disease and may cause injury and stress to farm animals.”
A few days prior, on Oct. 8, the provincial government enacted Bill 62, the Animal Diseases Amendment Act.
Both bills passed in the provincial legislature in May.
Bill 62 protects “biosecurity zones,” the government said.
These zones include farms and animal processing facilities.
In addition, people may not interfere with livestock or with transport drivers arriving at processing facilities.
An incident where a citizen interfered with a livestock truck occurred in June 2018 when an animal activist gave water to hogs inside a livestock trailer that was stuck in a ditch.
Industry groups welcomed the newly passed bills.
“Improvements to trespassing and biosecurity laws are important steps in ensuring Manitoba farm families feel safe and biosecurity protocols are maintained,” said Bill Campbell, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers.