Don’t Let Harper Cut the CFIA

A dear friend of mine who observed and monitored feedlots and horse slaughter in Western Canada for years before the CHDC or myself or any other group that I know of warned me just recently that while we’re busy maligning the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the horsemeat industry is well and even thriving.  Her comments brought me up short.  One of my own chief arguments has been how absurdly understaffed the CFIA is, but it’s been too easy to pursue them and their shortcomings rather than the Government of Canada itself or an industry which closes ranks like a secret society whenever the public demands specifics–and gets away with it.

I replied rather sheepishly to my friend by saying that Canadians have every right to expect their own food safety agency to protect our health.  And we do, and it should.  But you can’t get blood from a stone.  That’s why the cuts to our food safety program that the Harper government is planning are so scary:

Funding is set to decrease by $21.5 million, and of that, $21.1million and 207 staff will be cut.

Resources will sunset for listeriosis, and for increased frequency of food inspection in meat processing establishments.  (Now this explains why Section 33 was repealed from the Meat Inspection Act of 1990 !  No wonder the CFIA released smaller abattoirs from meeting their food safety protocols:  less manpower means fewer abattoirs to monitor !  See blog and blog Alert! Horse Apartheid.)

The listeriosis outbreak in 2008 killed 23 Canadians; at the time, special Investigator, Sheila Weatherill, recommended increasing the number of food inspectors.  As MP, Malcolm Allen writes:  “It’s simply unbelievable that Stephen Harper is willing to take such an irresponsible gamble with our food supply….This government is actually cutting jobs at the Food Safety Program when we still don’t have the inspectors we need.”

Please go here for more information (and scroll to the next article on cutting inspections to slaughterhouses).  Also visit




  1. Roxanne
    Mar 12, 2012

    You go girl. I commend you for taking the time to speak where it counts -and to speak with knowledge and professionalism.

    The government is cutting funding for inspections in the provinces.

    The people that are tasked with protecting Canadians need the resources and training to do their jobs.

    My mother always said -an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s that simple.

    • Cynthia
      Mar 12, 2012

      Thanks, Roxanne. I was near the end of writing this blog when I got the alert from Bob at that the Agri Committee was about to start, so I finished blogging quickly, and made as many pertinent comments on the live-cast as I could. Sponsor of our anti-slaughter Bill C-322, Alex Atamanenko was present and broached the food safety of imports, but Minister Ritz was in official line “spin” mode. Your mother is absolutely right: funny how the simplest solution is always the one we avoid, weaving worse webs by the month. Merci, my friend.

  2. Jason Marcel
    Mar 30, 2012

    Is there a petition floating around or anything of that nature where Canadians can put their names and agree that we don’t want cuts to our food safety?

    • Cynthia
      Mar 30, 2012

      As far as I know, there is no petition, but you can write or email the CFIA. See my blog post for the snailmail and the email address. Great that you’re interested.

Submit a Comment