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Ont. to expand deadstock disposal options

Ontario’s livestock producers, by the end of this week, are to have a longer list of allowable options for disposing of deadstock, but remain on the hook for the disposal costs.

Pending approval from Lt.-Gov. David Onley, a Disposal of Dead Farm Animals regulation under the provincial Nutrient Management Act and a Disposal of Deadstock regulation under the Food Safety and Quality Act are expected to come into force Friday (March 27).

The new rules, which the province said were “developed in consultation with industry partners,” are to give farmers, meat packers and deadstock receivers a “wider range of choices” for disposing of deadstock both on- and off-farm.

The province, in a release Wednesday, cited anaerobic digestion and central composting as examples of such options. It also provided farmers with a list of licensed livestock mortality collection services.

As well, poultry and other farmed animals not covered by the previous Dead Animal Disposal Act of 1968 are now included in these regulations.

But the new regulations also call for “enhanced environmental standards that will protect our water resources, with additional requirements that safeguard animal health and public health protection.”

“Modernizing the regulations for managing and disposing of deadstock will give farmers more environmentally protective and economically viable options for the disposal of deadstock,” Environment Minister John Gerretsen said in the province’s release. “That’s good news for farmers and the environment.”

“We have worked with the livestock industry to modernize the regulations so that producers have more choices to safely dispose of their dead animals and to ensure we continue to have a system that is sustainable for the industry,” Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky said in the same release.

The province also noted in its release that the government has provided “close to $20 million in transition funding” over the last five years to support affordable deadstock collection, in response to “declining markets” for rendered material from such animals.

But with that funding now ended, farmers were expected Wednesday to mount a demonstration at the Ontario legislature in Toronto to demand the deadstock program be restored, the Canadian Press news agency said.

CP quoted provincial Progressive Conservative ag critic Ernie Hardeman as saying earlier this month that it’s “only a matter of time” before deadstock starts piling up.

Hardeman was also quoted as saying some farmers remain unwilling to pay to have their dead animals taken away. Removal of one dead cow costs a farmer about $175 if unsubsidized, he told CP.

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