Egg farmers will get more compensation money if their flocks have to be destroyed because of a disease outbreak.
The federal government has created a separate category for layer hens under the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations. The maximum compensation amount per hen is $30.
Previously, egg-laying hens were included in a general category for poultry. The maximum compensation rate was $5 a bird.
But the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which enforces the compensation policy, now recognizes that layers are in a different production stream than broilers and should be treated differently, said Bernadette Cox, an Egg Farmers of Canada spokesperson.
EFC has lobbied CFIA for the change since 2006, said Cox. Federation Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made the announcement following EFC’s annual meeting March 23 in Ottawa.
CFIA will order a flock destroyed if infected with a federally reportable disease such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. The agency can also destroy flocks with an immediately notifiable disease, such as infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT).
“Ultimately, the new compensation policy comes down to a federal decision to destroy a flock,” said Cory Rybuck, Manitoba Egg Farmers general manager.
Canada’s egg farmers haven’t experienced such a disease since 2004 when an outbreak of avian influenza in B.C.’s Fraser Valley affected a wide range of poultry operations.
The egg industry has a strict biosecurity code under its Start Clean Stay Clean on-farm food safety program.
Still, a disease outbreak is always possible and producers must always guard against it, Cox said.