The Conservative government intends to change regulations to allow animals to be killed on the farm before being processed for human consumption. The opposition New Democratic Party says this will lead to roadkill being sold to Canadians.
As stated on its website, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for safeguarding food, animals, and plants to enhance the health and well-being of Canadians, the economy, and the environment. Under current regulations animals must be alive when they are shipped from a farm to a federal facility in order for the animal to eventually be processed for human consumption.
The government is proposing a change to the regulations to allow the shipment of dead animals. The government says this will only be done in limited circumstances and food safety will not be compromised. The Official Opposition says the change will result in loopholes that will have Canadians eating roadkill.
Yesterday the NDP released a statement entitled, Conservative changes will allow roadkill on your table. Accusing the government of gambling with the health and safety of Canadians, Malcolm Allen, the party's critic for Agriculture and Agri-food, said, First the Conservatives will let private inspectors monitor meat, and now they're essentially allowing road kill-ready meat into the food supply. Even scarier is the fact that we won't know how long animals have been dead before processing—or even that the meat will be inspected at all.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz called the NDP statement "ludicrous and misleading." The minister was quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, The NDP know full well, despite their outrageous rhetoric, that the proposal will not reduce food safety in any way. Only the NDP would stoop so low as to mislead Canadian families with hopes of getting media attention.
As reported by CBC, CFIA also takes issue with the NDP's release. Tim O'Connor, an agency spokesman, said dead animals will only be transported under very limited circumstances. An animal that is injured or too violent to transport will be allowed to be euthanized and transported only after approval by CFIA. And if CFIA does approve, the euthanasia must be carried out by a veterinarian who must certify not only the date and method of killing, but certify the animal is safe for human consumption.
This seems to exclude dead animals found on farms as well as roadkill.
John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association calls it a win-win situation. Currently if a steer is injured there are two choices; transport it while injured or put it down and dispose of it. He also told CBC that diseased and dead animals are not considered under the proposed regulations and doesn't know where the NDP got the idea that those animals were being considered.