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Alberta MP's Biosecurity Bill Passes Second Reading

A private member's bill put forward by Alberta MP John Barlow has received second reading in parliament.
 
Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act, seeks to make it an offence to enter, without lawful authority or excuse, a place in which animals are kept if doing so could result in the exposure of the animals to a disease or toxic substance.
 
Barlow says his bill to protect biosecurity on farms aims to help agricultural producers mental health.
 
"The bill really addresses two things. First off it was a way for us to recognize and try to address the mental health crisis within agriculture," he says. "Worrying about going out to their barns or into their corrals or onto their land and have to deal with dozens of protesters and activists isn't something they should be worried about. The other side of this is the biosecurity and the integrity of our food supply chain."
 
Barlow says when protesters go on to a farm they can take contaminants with them that can devastate not just that farm but an entire industry.
 
The bill is a response to a number of protesters who sat in at a turkey farm in southern Alberta in 2019.
 
Those protesters, Barlow says were protesting at a farm in Abbottsford B.C. a week earlier and could have unknowingly transferred any animal borne disease from one farm to another.
 
Albertans have seen an industry collapse when biosecurity wasn't maintained between farms.
 
Barlow hopes to keep the devastation of the BSE crisis from happening again through his private members bill.
 
"We are still feeling the ramifications of that one outbreak which devastated Canada's entire beef industry, so imagine going through that again if it was African swine fever which would devastate our hog industry or avian flu," he says. "African swine fever has been in Asia and more than a million hogs in China have had to be euthanized and that has been crippling for their hog operation."
 
The bill now goes to the agriculture committee to be studied before it comes back to parliament.
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