Biosecurity is an animal welfare issue, and activists don’t care
Biosecurity is an animal welfare issue, or it should be considered an animal welfare issue for the purposes of animal protection legislation. When careless trespassers, such as animal rights activists, enter biosecure areas without any regard for the consequences of their actions, they should be liable for prosecution under animal protections laws for the damage that could result.
It is true that not every biosecurity breach will result in a disease outbreak. However, it is equally true that a disease outbreak can involve the illness, suffering and deaths of thousands of animals. When a farmer could be liable for action or inaction that results in the same, how is that animal rights activists are not liable?
We know that animal rights activists are not concerned with animal welfare. They are abolitionists who want to end animal agriculture. Domesticated livestock have no place in their world. Holstein cows will not roam the forests and grasslands if they successfully end animal agriculture – such animals will simply not exist. So, perhaps it should be no surprise that radical animal rights activists, such as those who selfishly invade farms, have no regard for biosecurity and the consequences of their actions.
Our current animal protections laws (i.e. the OSPCA Act, until it is replaced) do not account for “what-if” scenarios, such as those that could result from a biosecurity breach. Such laws would require an actual disease outbreak to warrant charges. Even then, prosecution would be challenging because it would be difficult to prove a disease outbreak was caused by any one particular activist.
As Ontario’s new animal protection laws are being drafted, this issue should be considered. In the same way that unauthorized entry onto a farm is an offence pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act, unauthorized entry into a biosecure barn or farm, and perhaps also into a livestock trailer, should be an automatic offence regardless of the outcome. Considering the potential consequences of a biosecurity breach, penalties for a biosecurity breach should be far more serious than those for mere trespassing. Given current activist trends, farm invasions are going to continue and continually be bolder. Our current animal protection laws are not equipped to deal with it or deter those actions that disregard biosecurity. Farmers should not be the only ones to shoulder the burden of a biosecurity breach committed by activists. It is time for activists to be held to account for the suffering that they cause or very well could cause by their careless actions.