Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for the invitation. It's definitely a very new experience for me, so I hope this all works out for everyone.
My name is Jane Pritchard. I am a veterinarian who has lived and worked in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the Netherlands and China. I've worked for both the Alberta and the British Columbia ministries of agriculture, in a number of positions.
I graduated from the Ontario college of veterinary medicine in Guelph, Ontario. I've taught at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Early in my career, I worked in traditional small animal practice and equine and mixed animal practice in British Columbia. I moved many times in my career. My CV looks like I couldn't hold a job. I've been a diagnostic pathologist in three different laboratories in Canada; a field veterinarian in southern Alberta; a beef specialist; a public health veterinarian; a director of veterinary diagnostic laboratories; a regulator of dairy farms, fur farms and game farms; the chief veterinary officer for British Columbia; and the chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Veterinary Officers. As well, I'm a member of the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council and the executive director of the plant and animal health branch with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. I am currently the interim registrar for the College of Veterinarians in B.C. This was a post-retirement whim job.
Please understand, though, that today I do not speak for any of the organizations that I previously worked for or currently work for. I speak as someone who has worked for many years to ensure animal welfare and biosecurity.
In December 2014, I was the chief veterinary officer and the director of the provincial veterinary diagnostic lab in B.C. when the Fraser Valley experienced an outbreak of pathogenic avian influenza. The poultry industry had done a lot of work and survived to 2014, after the 2004 outbreak, because of the lessons they had learned during that outbreak. They had enhanced their biosecurity. They had developed strong traceability. They had learned to quarantine.
Biosecurity has remained a significant part of my work in British Columbia, with the constant threat of avian influenza within the Fraser Valley and the poultry industry, but also the swine industry as it met new challenges from new diseases such as porcine epidemic diarrhea and now African swine fever.
Throughout my pretty varied career, I have remained committed to animal welfare. I was directly involved in bringing in the national standards for slaughter without stunning in Canada and upgrading the B.C. mink farming regulations to enforce the national mink code of practice on farms. I am currently serving on the working group tasked with the review and revision of the national dairy code of practice. This is despite never having had animal welfare as part of my job description.
I support holding our livestock producers accountable for transparency in their actions and also for the humane treatment of all the animals raised on our farms. I have always endorsed the use of science to guide the industry in determining what is good welfare.
Equally, I take issue with the disregard for animal welfare by animal activists who trespass, occupy and threaten public safety while terrorizing livestock and breaching biosecurity on farms in Canada. I support anything that will prevent these vigilante acts that inflict trauma on the animals, the individuals and the farm families. To me, these acts are nothing short of cruel.
I am sharing this so you're aware of what has informed and influenced my remarks today. I hope I can be helpful.