Submit your comments before
October 31st, 2020
“Ag-Gag” laws are laws designed to silence dissent and to hinder investigation and exposure of conditions that farmed animals are made to experience in businesses like farms, transportation and slaughter.
Instead of responding to the suffering of farmed animals by improving regulations and enforcement, Canadian provincial governments are siding with those who want to hide the cruel practices of their industries.
It appears those businesses have a lot to hide.
What You Can Do
We can all express our concerns by commenting on the Manitoba government website before October 31st, 2020:
Some questions in the survey might be hard to answer if they regard non-animal related matters, but there are options to choose “unsure” in your response. Just do your best to respond.
The Most Critical Section
Please pay close attention to the proposed amendments to the Animal Diseases Act.
Please respond in your own words, but possible points to make are:
- Changes to the Animal Diseases Act appear to target those who investigate and report on the conditions that farmed animals endure, not to protect the food supply or bio-security.
- In no way should Manitoba follow the path taken by Ontario and Alberta to hinder the practice of undercover investigations, given that many such undercover workers have exposed very abusive treatment of farmed animals, abuses that likely would not have been exposed without the actions of the undercover investigators.
- Animal agriculture related businesses require greater oversight and transparency, not less. We cannot pretend that the normal practices of these industries do not cause distress and suffering to the animals exploited.
- Bio-security is being used as an excuse for hindering investigations. But it has not been demonstrated that investigators or those who enter farms to expose farm conditions have brought in contamination to the food supply chain.
- Citizens have a right to know how animals are treated in legally sanctioned businesses.
We urge all Manitobans to contact their own Member of the Legislative Assembly:
Let your MLA know that:
- You do not support criminalizing the practice of undercover investigation,
- Consumers deserve to know how animals being raised and killed for food are being treated, so they can make informed choices, and
- All farmed animals deserve to be better protected through improved regulations, enforcement, and oversight.
The Toxic Spread of Ag-Gag Legislation:
Alberta implemented Canada’s first Ag-Gag legislation in 2019. Then Ontario followed in 2020. Now, we see more provinces emboldened to adopt their own Ag-Gag legislation and the threat is becoming even more great. We urge all citizens, especially those in Manitoba, to oppose vigorously the amendments of laws that could hamper undercover investigations and whistle-blowers, as are being proposed in Manitoba.
We can do so using this online form, before October 31st, 2020.
We are not taking the spread of Ag-Gag legislation in Canada lightly, and we know that you won’t either. Now that Manitoba is taking steps to adopt its own Ag-Gag legislation, we have to keep fighting to stop the spread of these regressive laws.
Manitoba’s government proposes to amend three existing acts, and to create a new one to address, in their words: “ongoing crime and public safety challenges in rural Manitoba,” in an initiative titled: “Development of Rural Crime, Bio-Security, and Metal Theft Legislation.”
Possible Amendments to the Animal Diseases Act:
Our concern regards the proposal to amend the ‘Animal Diseases Act,’ using the tired excuse of “protecting the food supply” and “bio-security.”
No actions taken by activists have resulted in known violations of bio-security, nor have animals destined for slaughter been removed from the food chain after having interacted with activists.
Scientists have long pointed to industrial farming of animals as problematic. “Generally accepted practices”, like widespread use of antibiotics and overcrowding, increase transmission of zoonotic diseases, like bovine tuberculosis, H1N1, and Sars.
The government site states:
“Other jurisdictions have taken steps that protect the safety of people and animals in agricultural operations. The approaches taken by other governments has been to designate areas as ‘biosecurity areas’ or ‘animal protection areas’ and to restrict who can enter these areas to those who own/operate the livestock operation. Other governments have also introduced restrictions on interfering with the transportation of livestock.”
Possible Amendments to the Petty Trespasses’ Act:
Another area of concern is increasing punishments for those who enter farms to report on the treatment of animals. Manitoba, like all jurisdictions, already has trespass laws. This is not a problem of lack of legislation – it is a problem of not enforcing existing legislation.
The Proper Response for Government
The appropriate response to the exposure of cruel practices in animal agriculture should be to create stronger regulations for the care of these animals. Enforcement on farms, during transport and at slaughterhouses should be increased with regular, unannounced inspections carried out by neutral inspectors. And, let’s remember, if the routine conditions that farmed animals endure were not so egregious, if farmed animals were not suffering so badly in the everyday operations of animal farming, there would be less need to go to such lengths to expose the truth.
Thank you for caring about animals.
As always, thank you for caring about animals. We are working toward the day when no more animals are exploited for profit. But we must recognize that animal agriculture continues to be a protected industry in all Canadian jurisdictions, and that a majority of Canadians support these businesses. As much as we want to, we cannot wish animal agriculture away.
Reducing the degree of suffering that animals are made to endure is surely worthwhile to the millions of sensitive, feeling animals who will be bred for food now and in the future.