Feds change livestock transportation rules… apparently social license is now a requirement


One is constantly reminded as to the power of political correctness and how far its nefarious tentacles have reached into the mindset of bureaucrats who have been given regulatory power. That power was dramatically displayed by Dr. Penny Greenwood, a veterinarian and functionary with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). At a recent Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) health committee meeting the good doctor was speaking on the newly imposed amended livestock transportation regulations. Those new regulations were roundly condemned by a CCA official as “destined to fail”. About those regulations Dr. Greenwood stated “…if that is not acceptable to the cattle sector, than that is very unfortunate….” She further made it clear that it is now the law, so tough luck and get used to it. Now such an attitude and approach by a bureaucrat that has been given statuary power is nothing new, that’s because under our system we have given bureaucrats that power and essentially, we have no recourse. Sure, we elect politicians to perhaps change unfair and discriminatory rules and legislation, but it takes a determined and powerful Minister to overcome bureaucratic intransigence as history has shown.
But it wasn’t bureaucratic arrogance by the CFIA with the new livestock transportation regulations that were the most galling to the industry – it was comments on who influenced their decisions on the arbitrary changes. Dr. Greenwood stated that they listened to animal advocacy groups to obtain their social license because of the political impact. Since when did that step become part of the scientific process in creating regulations, is that now a standard application assessment when governments initiate or change regulations. She added that vegans also vote and politicians are concerned with that. Really, since when have professional bureaucrats begun to analyse and include political considerations into what should be a science-based process. Aren’t political considerations and impacts up to actual elected politicians.
One wonders as to what these Ottawa bureaucrats are thinking – vegetarians and animal advocacy groups are dedicated to the termination of animal agriculture, surely they would know that and their unequivocal opposition to any food animal regulation would be obvious. If such an absurd consideration has now become the norm – can we expect that the livestock industry will be consulted by federal bureaucrats on any rules regarding the inspection, health and movement of vegetables. After all isn’t the political impact of such changes to livestock industry voters to be considered. Should not social license be obtained from meat eaters as to the health and condition of those same vegetables. But alas as we know so well the first job of political correctness is to hide both hypocrisy and common sense.
The process to amend the livestock regulations truly reached new heights of ludicrousness, here is why according to the CFIA’s own press release. It points out that over 51,000 comments from over 11,000 respondents were received from the public, animal advocacy groups, researchers, international organizations, law groups and others which it now seems includes vegetarians. I would suggest that most of those folks have little if any connection to livestock transportation and probably have some biased notion based more on an imaginary human empathy reaction than actual reality. What’s more enlightening is that 95 to 98% of all livestock that is transported arrives safely and in good health at their destination. It would seem that the CFIA has created an onerous solution to a problem they invented. As is usual with Federal regulators no consideration is ever given to the economics of their nefarious decisions. The reality is the new regulations will increase costs for the livestock industry, especially for primary producers, who always seem to pay the price in the end.
Considering what seems like a never-ending campaign to over-regulate animal agriculture, one suspects many of our government regulators have a hidden anti-meat agenda. When the main excuse for onerous livestock transport regulations is political impact and social license from anti-animal agriculture groups, its rather easy to suspect such a hidden agenda. Common sense would have been for the CFIA to determine what was causing the small percentage of livestock transport losses and focus on how that could be improved. Using a sledge hammer on an industry practice that has worked well in the vast majority of situations just to obtain social license from actors that are opposed to the entire industry defies any semblance of fairness. More next time. Will Verboven is an agriculture opinion writer and an agriculture policy consultant.