CFIA retools compensation for destroyed livestock

Canada’s egg and poultry producers are hailing Ottawa’s move to rework the compensation payable to producers whose livestock are ordered destroyed for disease control.

Groups including the Chicken Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) and Canadian Hatching Egg Producers said they were informed Wednesday of the revised payment levels during an industry reception with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

The EFC said in a release Thursday that Ritz and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had “consulted extensively” with the organization “to ensure a maximum compensation that is in line with the market value of laying hens.”

The new maximums, laid out in amendments to the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations, won’t be published until Wednesday (March 30) in the Canada Gazette but are effective “immediately,” the feather groups said in a separate release.

“The new compensation figures better reflect the different market values of an egg-laying hen, a breeder bird and a meat bird,” EFC chairman Peter Clarke said.

For example, the previous regulations allowed maximum compensation per bird of $8 for most chickens, $18 for “parent breeders” and $60 for “grandparent breeders” for laying chickens, and $24 and $75 respectively for parent and grandparent breeders of meat chickens.

But the amendments now taking effect set up a separate compensation category for laying birds themselves, to a maximum $30 per hen, the EFC said.

“Adequate compensation is considered a critical component in both effective disease surveillance and pre-emptive cull programs,” the feather groups said.

The goal of such programs, they noted, “is to contain a disease before it spreads and save all partners — governments, the public and industry — the cost of managing a full disease outbreak.”

Farmers and processors have already shared in the work and cost of on-farm food safety programs, biosecurity plans and development of a cull protocol, TFC chairman Mark Davies said Thursday.

“Compensation values that reflect the true market value of a bird are a logical next step in this process.”

The feather groups didn’t say if any maximum compensation levels for other livestock would also be revised.

Until now, the caps for farm animals have been set at $2,500 per animal for cattle, $2,000 per hog, $600 per goat, $300 per sheep, $35 per meat turkey and $250 per honeybee colony, among others. Registered breeding stock in most cases are eligible for higher rates.

The regulations also cap compensation for companion animals (dogs, cats), fur animals (mink, fox), lab animals (rats, rabbits, guinea pigs) and many other species, where ordered destroyed under the Health of Animals Act.

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