Bill benefits bad actors

Dear Editor:

MPP Randy Pettapiece’s praise of Bill 156 and the name of the bill itself (Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act) might suggest it will insure human food safety and benefit animals involved in meat, poultry, dairy and egg industries. Sadly, this is not the case.

Bill 156 will benefit only the unethical livestock producers by weakening animal cruelty investigations and by allowing operators to better hide neglect and mistreatment of cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks and rabbits raised for food in Canada.

Cruelty is a hidden crime, and Bill 156 will make cruelty much easier and safer. It is a whistle-blower law, designed to interfere with the documentation and report of hidden abuse in barns, feedlots, transport trucks and slaughterhouses. It would make it a crime for “insiders” (employees) and “outsiders” (ex-employees, visitors, customers, news reporters, animal advocates, ordinary citizens) to reveal brutal aspects of meat/poultry/dairy production at the risk of fines or jail.

Many livestock producers are good stewards. But Bill 156 allows “bad actors” to hide within the livestock industry. Unfortunately, when challenged, animal abusers in the food industry rarely improve their animal care practices.

Canada would do better to legislate enforceable standards of livestock care rather than pursue flimsy legislation which courts will certainly view as a violation of Canada’s charter rights of free speech and freedom of the press.

I am asking my MPP to reject Bill 156 and support the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act coming in 2020.

Dr. Mary Dart,
Mount Forest