April 29, 2024

A Win for Farm Animals in Ontario

Silence is a killer of animal welfare, and silence is what Ontario introduced last year with Bill 156, the so-called Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act. Thinly veiled as a means to protect biosecurity on farms, the bill targets people who report animal abuse in the farming industry — slashing transparency and accountability for how these businesses treat their animals.

But this month, a group of animal advocates struck a blow against this cruel law in court, with an Ontario judge stating that parts of Bill 156 were unconstitutional, as they violate the right of freedom of expression guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Why does this matter?

In Ontario, animal protection systems are complaint based. This means, for an investigation to happen, someone must file and report the abuse. Over the past decade, these complaints have led to the discovery of terrible suffering endured by animals in the food system. Animals being beaten and kicked. Animals being subjected to illegal, painful medical procedures. Bill 156 and similar laws prevent this scrutiny and the basic protection it provides for the welfare of animals used in agriculture.

This win for the animals is a good one, but too many barriers remain that prevent the reporting of cruel conditions for animals on farms.

All animals deserve protection from suffering. The food production industry must use practices that are humane, ethical and sustainable. Continued fighting against Bill 156 will help make this happen.

Sharon Miko

President & CEO