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432-00531 (Animals)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

Whereas, the Government of Canada has proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XV (15) (Livestock identification and traceability) which pose a threat to the future of agricultural exhibitions, fairs, and rodeos;

Whereas, these proposed changes would place onerous regulations on volunteer-run agricultural exhibitions fairs, and rodeos and discourage their operation;

Whereas, Provincial and National Associations for Agricultural Societies, Exhibitions, and Fairs have raised serious concerns with the proposed regulatory changes;

Whereas, agricultural exhibitions, fairs, and rodeos are a pillar of Western Canadian heritage and enjoyed by Canadians across the country.

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the House of Commons to take the following actions to address the situation:

1. Consult carefully with Agricultural Societies, Exhibitions, and Fairs in developing these regulations.

2. Ensure that new traceability requirements do the operations of Agricultural Societies, Exhibitions, and Fairs so that future generations can continue to enjoy these pillars of Western Canadian heritage.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP

The objective of the proposed amendments to Part XV of the Health of Animals Regulations is to provide more precise, complete, and timely information about animal movements in order to mitigate the social, economic, and environmental impacts of a disease outbreak, food safety issue, or natural disaster.

The main pillars of a strong traceability program include animal identification, location identification, and animal movement reporting.

Strengthening Canada’s livestock identification and traceability program with the proposed amendments will benefit the operators of fairs and exhibitions by reducing the risk of a cease movement order in the event of a disease outbreak. In addition, fairs and exhibitions are sites where commingling of many different sources of animals can occur, and livestock traceability would be key during a disease investigation.   

Under the current regulations, cattle, bison, sheep, and pigs are required to be identified with a tag before leaving the site where they were born. If animals arrive at an intermediate site—such as a fair or exhibition— without the required tag, then a tag must be applied to any untagged animals received. In the proposed amendments, this requirement would only be new for goats and cervids.

If an operator of a fair or exhibition does not want to have volunteers handle untagged animals, they can provide the tags, but have producers do the tagging. Another option is to communicate with their producers to ensure only animals with approved tags arrive at their site, and/or refuse to allow untagged animals on their site.

A new requirement in the proposed amendments for fairs and exhibitions would be the need to report animals received on their site to industry-led databases (i.e., Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, DairyTrace, PigTrace). After consultation with stakeholders, the design of the livestock trace program amendments were drafted with this move-in reporting model. All sites receiving animals need to report this move-in, and maintaining this consistency is the main driver for fairs and exhibitions reporting reception of animals. The administrators for the trace databases all have easy to use, mobile device-friendly apps for reporting this information. They also allow for reporting via telephone, mail, and fax.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been consulting on the proposed amendments since 2013, including with provinces and stakeholders across the livestock sector. Sector-specific industry associations, including the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE), were consulted.

To continue engagement and outreach with stakeholders, CFIA has also established a Regulatory Implementation Committee (RIC), with regular meetings, of which the provinces and impacted industry associations are members, including the CAFE. In 2020, CFIA shared a plain language but detailed description of the proposed regulations with the RIC members and solicited further feedback.

CFIA recognizes the concerns of the fairs and exhibitions with the proposed amendments and encourages them to continue to participate in the RIC meetings, and to also express their implementation issues in future consultations.

Under CFIA’s Forward Regulatory Plan (https://www.inspection.gc.ca/about-cfia/acts-and-regulations/forward-regulatory-plan/eng/1361986810905/1361986866978), the proposed regulations are anticipated to be published for consultation in Part I of the Canada Gazette in summer 2021, after which time citizens will have a 90-day period to provide comments. CFIA will review and consider all comments received prior to publishing the finalized regulations in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

Presented to the House of Commons
Martin Shields (Bow River)
February 23, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00531)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Martin Shields
Bow River
Conservative Caucus
Alberta

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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