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Chicken Farmers Applaud Stronger Trespassing Protection

Minister Hardeman introduces new legislation to protect farmers, farms, and food supply

 
TORONTO, ON – December 2, 2019 – Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) applauds and congratulates the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for introducing the Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019.

Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and Rob Dougans, President & CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario joined Minister Hardeman and other stakeholders from Ontario’s agriculture sector today at Queen’s Park for a roundtable and media availability to discuss the importance of protecting farmers, farms and Ontario’s food supply from illegal trespassing.
 
Throughout 2019, CFO has worked closely with Minister Hardeman, OMAFRA, and the Ontario government to advance a responsible approach to addressing safety and security concerns shared by Ontario chicken farmers and the broader agricultural community.

If passed, this new legislation will better protect Ontario livestock farmers, including CFO’s 1,300 family-run farms, from the threat of activist trespassers and the risks that trespassing poses to the safety and well-being of families, businesses, and livestock animals.
 
“On behalf of the 1,300 family-run farms across the province, CFO thanks Minister Hardeman and the Ontario government for taking action to address trespassers on farms. The proposed legislation is a fair and balanced approach, and we appreciate the extensive consultation undertaken by Minister Hardeman, OMAFRA, and the Ontario government to find a path forward that is agreeable for everyone,” said Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario.
 
The proposed legislation includes the creation of animal protection zones, which would enhance protection for barns, animal enclosures, transport, and processing facilities – providing protection across the industry value chain.
 
Changes also include requirements for explicit consent in order to enter animal enclosures, and consent would be considered invalid if it was obtained under duress or false pretenses.
 
“Trespassing for any reason, including animal activism, is illegal and puts the safety and well-being of our businesses, our families, and our animals at risk. Farmers work closely with veterinarians, nutrition specialists, regulators and other experts to monitor and maintain the health and safety of our animals and property,” said Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario, “Strengthening legal protection from trespassers will better safeguard Ontario’s food supply and support the welfare and safety of the animals in our care.”
 
If passed, the legislation would also increase fines for trespassers, allow for the courts to order restitution for losses and damages, and includes protection for farmers from civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act.
 
“Ontario chicken farmers follow high standards of animal care. Those standards of care include biosecurity protocols designed to protect animals from disease. Anyone entering barns or farms, handling animals or moving between barns without following proper biosecurity protocols puts the health of animals, the safety of food and the livelihood of farmers at risk,” said Rob Dougans, President & CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario.
 
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