Fresh Ideas, Growing Together

Farmers Breathe Sigh of Relief, Ontario Passes Bill 156

Chicken Farmers of Ontario Welcome Stronger Protection from Trespassers

 
 
TORONTO, ON – June 17, 2020 – Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) welcomes the passing of Bill 156: Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, which will provide greater protection for 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.
 
“Our farms are places of business, but they are also our homes. It’s where we live and where Ontario chicken farmers raise our families,” said Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “We thank Minister Hardeman and the Ontario government for recognizing the need for stronger laws to protect our farms, our animals, our families, and Ontario’s food supply.”
 
Disturbing trends among some activism organizations have increased the risk of unwanted trespassers illegally entering our property, breaking into our barns, and invading our homesteads.
 
This is not right. Farmers should not have to live in fear of trespassers threatening our animals, our families, and our way of life – without facing legal repercussions.
 
Existing laws have not been enough to protect our farms and our homes from the risk of invasion. When police have been called, the enforcement and legal community have been reluctant to press charges and prosecute trespassers.
 
That’s why Ontario needs stronger laws.
 
The recently passed Bill 156: Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, makes it clear that trespassing on farms is illegal, and that trespassers cannot rush, sneak, or lie their way onto farms.
 
They can’t break into our barns. They can’t steal our livestock. And, they can’t threaten the health and safety of animals, farmers, employees, and our families.
 
“Our priority is protecting food security, protecting our farmers, and protecting the health and welfare of animals,” said Rob Dougans, President & CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “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.”
 
Ontario chicken farmers are required to uphold high national standards of animal care and food safety. Farms are audited by trained inspectors. And, farmers are responsible for ensuring everyone entering on farm follows protocols, including wearing proper PPE and footwear, to prevent the spread of contaminants and disease.
 
Farmers care about our animals and we care about raising a steady supply of safe, high quality food for Ontario dinner tables.
 
Trespassing and stealing property from any other business environment wouldn’t be acceptable, and farmers expect that the same level of protection be afforded to their homes, as are enforced for homes in urban and suburban Ontario. 
 
The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act provides a balanced approach to protecting farms while recognizing a citizen’s right to protest.
 
Yet, special interest groups and activists, would have you believe that their rights extend to breaking into barns, threatening our food system, and threatening the wellbeing of animals and families.
 
With the passing of Bill 156, farmers can breathe a sigh of relief, that the government has taken action to provide the legal standing necessary to protect our farms, our animals, and our families.