Federal Ag Gag Bill Passes House of Commons

Bill C-275, dangerous ag gag legislation that aims to conceal animal abuse on farms, has passed its final vote in the House of Commons and is now headed to the Senate for further study. This dangerous bill aims to shield farms from prosecution for creating a risk of disease, while targeting whistleblowers and other citizens with steep fines and even jail time if they visit a farm without permission.

On its face, Bill C-275 presents itself as a biosecurity bill—but this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the government’s own data, analyzed by Animal Justice, animal advocates have never introduced a disease at a farm. Diseases usually result from poor biosecurity practices at farms, or from exposure to wild animals carrying viruses. The very nature of confining animals in filthy and crowded factory farms poses a huge risk for the creation and spread of zoonotic diseases.

The real biosecurity risks are created by farms themselves, yet disease threats caused by farmers and farm workers are not covered by Bill C-275.

Farmer Caught Misleading Lawmakers About Horrifying Conditions

Just last week, Excelsior Hog Farm owner Ray Binnendyk was exposed for misleading Members of Parliament when he testified at an agriculture committee meeting studying Bill C-275. Ray Binnendyk said the agriculture industry takes biosecurity seriously, but new undercover footage taken at his farm this year and released by Animal Justice shows horrifying, filthy conditions as well as illegal animal cruelty. The footage shows feces and blood smeared throughout the farm, a cat appearing to urinate in a feed bin, and the half-eaten carcasses of piglets strewn around the barn.

The shocking undercover footage also shows that illegal animal suffering is still prevailing at Excelsior—including bloody injuries, beatings, and botched euthanasia. The farm has been ousted multiple times for unlawful suffering in recent years, including this month in our shocking exposé, yet it has never faced legal consequences.

Instead of prosecuting Excelsior for their pattern of abuse, authorities have sentenced animal advocates Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer to jail for their peaceful sit-in protest that shone a light on cruelty on the farm in 2019. Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer were recently at the BC Court of Appeal to overturn their conviction.

Join the Fight to Stop Ag Gag Laws

Ag gag laws are a massive threat to animals and whistleblowers, and make the grim state of animal protection in Canada even worse. That’s why Animal Justice lawyers are fighting with everything they’ve got to stop ag gag laws in Canada, including taking the Ontario government to court to overturn these troubling laws that cover up animal abuse and stifle our constitutional right to free expression. 

Please join us in fighting back against federal ag gag Bill C-275 and to ask senators to instead pass laws to protect farmed animals from the widespread and heartbreaking cruelty they face every day in this country.

Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media