moved for leave to introduce Bill C-205, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand today and introduce this bill, which is seconded by my colleague, the member for Beauce.
This bill addresses a critical issue, which is the securing of the biosecurity of our food supply, especially when there are trespassers on farm property and facilities. As the House may be aware, there are numerous protests on farm property and process plants across this country, and it is certainly not relegated to one segment of agriculture or one area of Canada. We have seen people enter hog farms in Abbotsford, B.C. and Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, a pork breeding facility in Ontario, and activists have even tried to remove animals from dairy farms.
In my own riding of Foothills, a farmer was startled to come to his farm in the morning and see that dozens of protesters had broken into the property and into a barn and were trying to take turkeys. There are numerous examples, and I fear the situation will get worse if producers do not see something is done. I do not think activists understand the full consequences of their actions. We want them to understand that they are endangering the safety of livestock, families, farmers and workers. We understand that they care deeply about the soil, food safety, animal health and the environment, but I think my colleagues in this room would also understand and agree with me that mental health and anxiety within agriculture is at a crisis.
These are important issues that we hope to address, but I have decided to focus my amendment to the Health of Animals Act to create a new offence. The act provides for the control of diseases and toxic substances that may affect animals or could be transmitted by animals to persons. The risk from viruses like the African swine fever are very real and potentially devastating to Canadian agriculture.
Currently, there is nothing that addresses trespassers, which is what this bill aims to change. I look forward to engaging with my colleagues as we work together to address this important issue and the safety of Canada's food supply.