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Results: 91 - 105 of 150000
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you.
With that, we'll suspend. I don't know if the witness is ready or not.
We'll just suspend the meeting for now.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
I call the meeting back to order.
With that, I welcome Dr. Jane Pritchard, who is the interim registrar of the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia.
Welcome to our panel, Ms. Pritchard.
We'll start with a five-minute opening statement, if you wish. The floor is yours.
Jane Pritchard
View Jane Pritchard Profile
Jane Pritchard
2021-06-15 15:42
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.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you so much, Dr. Pritchard.
Usually we have more than one witness here, but today all the attention will be on you. Our members are all collegial and respectful. Take your time. It will be good. Although I will be, don't feel that I'm interrupting if your time is up. I'll try to let you finish your sentence, but I might be cutting you off so that all our members have a chance to ask questions.
With that, we'll go to our first panel. Mr. Barlow, who is the sponsor of the bill, will lead off with six minutes of questions.
Go ahead, Mr. Barlow.
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2021-06-15 15:46
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Ms. Pritchard. Don't feel any pressure whatsoever that you are literally in the spotlight for the next hour. Certainly, it's great to have somebody with your experience and knowledge in this field to provide us with some great insights.
I wanted to touch on some of the things we've heard so far and to get your opinion on what you feel is possible. We heard from CFIA officials that Bill C-205 would be difficult to implement and enforce due to current resources.
You talked about the avian flu that was in the Fraser Valley in 2014, and we've seen the impact of BSE and the concerns with African swine fever. I also kind of tie it back to COVID, where, if we've learned anything, it's that when you prioritize something from government officials and they're given the right direction and adequate resources, you can overcome some obstacles.
Do you feel that with the right resources, and understanding the potential risk that is there with the right priorities, Bill C-205 could be implemented and enforced?
Jane Pritchard
View Jane Pritchard Profile
Jane Pritchard
2021-06-15 15:48
Certainly, I am not an expert in saying what resources the CFIA have or don't have available to them. In my personal interpretation, reading the bill through, as a person who has supported the development of regulation and continues in a career that regulates, I guess there are a couple of ways of looking at it.
If I was writing the guiding notes on this, and someone was putting together the regulation, I think it could be interpreted that as long as the person who has entered the premises, or the enclosed space or building, did not follow the required biosecurity processes for that building, then they have broached the biosecurity.
For all the industries I've worked with, every barn has a standard. If you don't follow that standard, then, essentially, to me, you are broaching it.
If there's also a trespass, an undocumented trespass, the CFIA wouldn't be documenting the trespass. The biosecurity issue could be addressed quite simply by whether protocols were followed or not followed.
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2021-06-15 15:49
Thank you for that.
I want to go back to the last comment you made in your introduction about these acts being nothing short of cruel, and that you want to support anything that would address the stress, mental health and anxiety issues that this has on a farm family and processors, but also on the animals themselves.
How important is it, Dr. Pritchard, in your opinion and in your experience, that the federal government show some leadership here and have this type of legislation that would, if anything, act as a deterrent and show those activist groups that there are consequences when they do not follow biosecurity protocol and they cross that line, going onto private property and into enclosed spaces to do this unlawful activity? How important is it for the federal government to show leadership here and have those deterrents in place?
Jane Pritchard
View Jane Pritchard Profile
Jane Pritchard
2021-06-15 15:50
I have two things, really. One, having the additional federal legislation always helps, because federal trumps provincial. Showing that there is clear support at the federal level always helps as a provincial enforcer. It's always helped to have that backup.
The other part of it, though, is that the federal legislation piles on, so there is an additional deterrent that's brought in. Also, my experience with developing national policy versus provincial policy is that it's always better to have something where it doesn't change from province to province, so there is no excuse that, “Oh, well, it was different in B.C., so I was unaware.”
That “I was unaware” excuse is something that provincial legislatures sometimes face, because people have crossed jurisdictions and there isn't a consistency between them. Certainly, with animal welfare and animal health, we really appreciate anything that develops consistency across the provinces.
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2021-06-15 15:51
Yes, I think that's something we've certainly spoken about at this committee. Some provinces, like B.C. for example, are in the process of putting in legislation to address trespassing, but in B.C. and Manitoba, it hasn't passed yet. Alberta and Ontario, from my understanding, are the only two, so you have no consistency across the country, which I think is why this is so important.
You've also touched on the fact that.... One of the instances we had was a group of protesters going from a hog farm in Abbotsford to a turkey farm in Alberta. From your experience, can you just explain what the risks are of these protesters going from one farm to another—this was within a couple of days—potentially harming animals but also spreading infectious diseases or other dangerous bacteria or viruses?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
I will accept a very short answer because we're out of time, but go ahead.
Jane Pritchard
View Jane Pritchard Profile
Jane Pritchard
2021-06-15 15:52
The very short answer is that influenza is a disease in which the strains mix and can change and potentially become zoonotic and affect people. Certainly, when you start mixing a pig strain, which is one that crosses into people, with a turkey strain, which is one that crosses into others, then you get a strain that may affect all species.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Dr. Pritchard.
Now we'll move to Mr. Louis for six minutes.
Go ahead, Mr. Louis.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I appreciate it.
Thank you, obviously, to all our witnesses.
I want to say thank you to Dr. Pritchard. I have to say that your stock has gone up exponentially with the fact that you're appearing today with your dog at your side.
Jane Pritchard
View Jane Pritchard Profile
Jane Pritchard
2021-06-15 15:53
I might have to pick her up. I don't know why she's whining. She's usually good.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think the chair would allow that, and we appreciate it.
I'm here in Kitchener, just down the road from University of Guelph, your old alma mater. Everyone says hello, and things are going well there.
With the testimony we've heard and the stakeholders we've heard from, we've all agreed that strong biosecurity measures are essential to protect animal health and well-being. We've also heard about protecting the mental health of farmers, and then the marketability of farm products.
A lot of the testimony we've heard is saying that the introduction of a pathogen or a pest in Canadian livestock is most likely through routine animal health management practices such as moving animals between herds or flocks without appropriate biosecurity measures, or movement of service providers in previous contact with other animals and environments, or movement of contaminated equipment, manure or carcasses. We've heard about wildlife vectors and herds being close to wild animals. Is there a way you can kind of broadly give an order of prevalence for the major root causes of biosecurity issues?
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