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Ontario boosts livestock disease response

The Ontario government in Canada has introduced legislation to improve its ability to respond when or if diseases hit its livestock or poultry sectors.

The government recently introduced its new Animal Health Act, which it said will "provide measures to assist in the prevention, detection, response to and control of animal diseases and other hazards to protect the livestock and poultry sector."

"We feel the proposed Act will provide the provincial government and the livestock and poultry industry with the required tools to reduce the likelihood of a major disease occurrence and assist with controlling its spread if one should occur," Gord Coukell, chair of the Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council, said in the province's release.

Structured reporting
The law, if passed, would require veterinarians and laboratories to report specific animal diseases to the provincial chief veterinarian (CVO). It also allows the CVO to grant inspectors the authority to inspect a farm operation on "reasonable grounds" of a possible hazard.

It would also "enable the use of quarantine orders, surveillance zones and animal health control area orders to help control the spread of any detected disease or hazard." The CVO also gets powers to order that livestock be destroyed.

Ontario is home to Canada's largest poultry industry, second largest swine and dairy industries and third largest beef industry, the province noted in its release.

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