Victoria/Fraser Valley – Last week in the BC Legislature, an amendment was proposed by Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness that the Trespass Act be upgraded.
In particular, to protect farmers. While there have been substantiated charges made be Crown and SPCA against some farming activities over animal cruelty ( ie 2017 and Elite Farm services and Lilydale Foods) there have been farms that have been targeted by activists, where charges were not or have not been laid and protesters simply trespassed on private property. The group Mercy for Animals has a history of obtaining “undercover video”, which has raised eyebrows over how they obtained their video.
On October 22, Throness rose in the house and made his point that farmers need better protection under the Trespass Act. “After making speeches about the lack of protection for farmers who raise animals from animal-rights activists, we scored a victory – the government agreed today to accept our amendment specifying farms and livestock in the Trespass Act, providing further protection for Fraser Valley farmers, their families and their animals.”
Throness and Chilliwack MLA John Martin noted that damage to farm property, equipment and threats to farm families and employees has become a problem from protesters encroaching and/or crossing onto private farm property.
Chilliwack MLA John Martin also rose in the Legislature to address the situation.
On Monday, Throness introduced an amendment of the Trespass Bill. Delta South MLA Ian Paton was also involved with this motion. It did pass first reading and now onto second reading.
MLA Throness told FVN:
The Opposition amendment on October 22 that the government accepted (and reworded slightly) was this (here is the exact transcript):
Hon. D. Eby: I rise to table a proposed amendment to Bill 35 and read it into the record.
[SECTION 19, by deleting the text shown as struck out and adding the underlined text as shown:
19 Section 1 of the Trespass Act, R.S.B.C. 2018, c. 3, is amended in paragraph (b) (ii) of the definition of “premises”
(a) in subparagraph (i) by adding “, including a building or permanent structure designed or used for shelter for livestock” after “structure”,
(b) in subparagraph (ii) by striking out “or vehicle” and substituting “, vehicle or aircraft”, and
(c) in subparagraph (iii) by adding “, including shelter for livestock,” after “for shelter”.]
What this means is that the definition of premises was specified to include a building or permanent structure designed or used for shelter for livestock.
We were surprised that the government accepted our simple Opposition amendment, which it rarely does, and so I want to give you the embargoed heads-up that I will introduce a private members bill on Monday at 1:30 to amend the Trespass Act even more, to include food processing facilities (like the packing plants I have in my riding) and to address the breach of biosecurity protocols, which as you know can spread disease and wipe out hundreds of thousands of animals, as happened just a few years ago with Avian Influenza in the Valley. When protesters tromp all over a farm they can bring diseases in, and it’s not very thoughtful of them to jeopardize animals in that way.
The Question Period which featured the motion is here: