2017 Soybean Harvest

2017 Soybean Harvest

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Virtually no defence available - fines against Manitoba cattleman upheld


The Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal has imposed several $500 administrative monetary penalties on a Manitoba farmer named Gordon Kropelnicki. The penalties result from a breach of the health of animals regulations administered by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In particular, Kropelnicki was alleged to have failed to retire the tag numbers of several cattle there were exported to the United States in 2009.

On March 16 and 17, 2009, Kropelnicki exported 33 cattle to the United States via Pembina, North Dakota. In August, 2009, Kropelnicki received a letter of warning sent from the CFIA stating that three of the cattle he had transported to the United States had not had their identification tag retired within 30 days of their export. The warning letter said that the farmer must bring himself into compliance with the section by retiring the tags no later than September 15, 2009. Kropelnicki took no steps on his own to retire the tags. Instead, Kropelnicki says that he called the veterinarian clinic in Glenboro on August 29 or 30, 2009 to have them retire the tags and that the clinic said that they would do so. However, the clinic did not retire the tags.

According to the chairperson of the Appeal Tribunal, Dr. Don Buckingham, the “undeniable facts” of the case are:

That Kropelnicki shipped his cattle to the U.S.A. and their tag numbers were not retired on or before September 15, 2009. The Tribunal has no reason to doubt that Kropelnicki fully relied on the Glenboro clinic to carry out his wishes and to protect his interests by retiring the tag numbers of the cattle exported to the U.S.A. It is clear that Kropelnicki took some preliminary steps to have the tags retired to meet his obligations and the agency’s August request. Unfortunately for whatever reason, the retirement of the tags did not occur prior to September 15, 2009.
In his decision, Buckingham notes that Section 18 of the applicable legislation excludes practically any excuse that Kropelnicki might raise in the case. Given Parliament’s clear statement on the issue, Buckingham accepted that due diligence statements by Kropelnicki are not permitted defences under the applicable legislation. Moreover, reliance by Kropelnicki on individuals who are acting as his agents in the export transaction to the U.S., is not a defence to the violation alleged in the case.

In light of those findings, the Tribunal rejected the appeal and imposed the administrative monetary penalties required under the leglislation.

Read the decision at: Kropelnicki v. Canada (CFIA).