Canada’s pork producers call for better access to antimicrobials

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The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) has joined other agriculture groups in Canada that support Bill C-359, a private member’s bill that amends the Feeds Act. This is the Seeds Act and the Pest Control Products Act to improve access to new seed, feed, antimicrobials and crop protection products.

Bill C-359 is aimed at helping pig and other farmers in Canada achieve a higher level of competitiveness. “On behalf of more than 8,000 pork producers, we support efforts to leverage the science of other trusted jurisdictions as part of the regulatory process,” stated CPC chair René Roy in a news release in early December.

Reinventing the wheel

When asked about products needed by pork producers, CPC executive director Stephen Heckbert was not able to list specifics. However, he noted many product suppliers “are indicating the current process in Canada is simply too onerous and too expensive to pursue for the size of the Canadian market. As such, products that have been approved in Europe, the US or Australia for example, aren’t available to Canadian producers.”

He added that “in short, we are forcing companies to ‘reinvent the wheel’ for the Canadian market, and – with no guarantee of timely approval – companies are simply refusing to seek approval for Canada, which means our producers, and eventually all Canadians, suffer from losing access to these advances.”

Specific benefits

Having better product access will help Canadian pig producers improve animal health and welfare, and increase profits, said Heckbert. “In some cases it will also help improve our environmental impact. In others, it will help with feed efficiency and so on, but the real goal here is to ensure Canadian producers can remain competitive with their international competitors by making sure products to which they have access – products approved by their competent authorities and licenced for use there – are also available to Canadian producers.”

There is a 90-day provisional registration or approval process that is already approved by 2 or more trusted international jurisdictions, and this is recommended for Canada by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, CPC and others.

Kody Blois, the member of parliament (MP) and chair of the House of Commons agriculture committee who introduced the bill, said that currently, in some cases, the approval process for ag products in Canada can be over 3 years.

Pork producers Canada asked to help

To try and make sure this bill will pass, CPC is engaging with the media, and asking producers to get involved. “We are discussing this bill with other groups and asking producers and other agriculture groups, to discuss this with their local MPs, etc.,” said Heckbert. “As a private members bill, it will need support from MPs from all parties to move forward, so we’re hoping our voice helps move that agenda.”

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Treena Hein Correspondent
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