The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will now be able to slap heavier fines on those who mishandle livestock during transport or otherwise mistreat food animals.
The federal government on Wednesday announced it will more than double the CFIA’s maximum available administrative monetary penalties (AMPs), up to $10,000 from the previous $4,000, for those who violate the Health of Animals Act.
The CFIA will still be able to boost fines by up to 50 per cent of the maximum fine for repeat offenders.
However, the government announced, the CFIA will now also have the ability to look back into the past five years, instead of three years, of an offender’s history.
For example, if an offender is now found to have committed a second “very serious” violation of the Act within five years, the CFIA can impose a fine of up to $15,000, compared to the previous available maximum of $6,000.
“The agriculture industry knows that a healthy farm and processing business begins with healthy animals and while the majority handles and transports animals safely, a few need to do better,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in the government’s release.
The new increases in AMPs will also apply to the Plant Protection Act, to cover violations such as importing prohibited plants, the government said Wednesday.
The CFIA added Wednesday that it “continues to work with animal welfare experts and industry leaders to update the Health of Animals Regulations governing livestock transportation to reflect the latest science and industry practices.”