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In 2006, the CFHS joined with the BC SPCA and the Ontario SPCA to submit evidence-based recommendations for amendments to Canada’s animal transport regulations to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Below you will find a summary of our recommendations, or for more detailed information, you can read our full report .
Presently in Canada, cattle and sheep are permitted to be enclosed in a truck for as long as 52 hours. For pigs, horses, rabbits and poultry, the maximum transportation time is 36 hours. These long days cause unnecessary suffering and result in death for many animals. We have proposed that the maximum travel time be reduced to 24 hours for cattle and sheep, 16 hours for pigs and horses, and 12 hours for rabbits and poultry when specially equipped trucks that provide adequate care (e.g. bedding material and on-board watering systems) are used. These changes would bring Canada up to the standards required in other developed countries such as the UK, France, and Germany.
There are currently no regulations dictating standards for loading density of animals. We have recommended maximum densities in line with those required in Europe.
We have requested that the regulations describe specific health conditions that would prevent afflicted animals from being transported unless for veterinary care. Such conditions would include: emaciation, broken bones, large wounds, lameness, etc. We also ask that animals who become ill or injured during the trip are specially handled when they reach their destination.
Loading and unloading are typically the most stressful aspects of transportation2. Electric prods cause acute stress in pigs, increasing animals’ heart rates by an average of 150%. Animals are often treated roughly at this stage of transport, with little care afforded to those who are ill or injured. We are calling for a prohibition of handling methods that cause pain, bruising, or bone-breakage, including the use of electric prods and the use of sticks or canes on sensitive areas such as the face, genitalia, and udder.
In Canada, trucks are not required to have active ventilation systems on board. Severe suffering and death from heat exhaustion can result, even when the outside temperature is cold. We have asked that requirements for active ventilation be phased in, to keep Canada in step with European laws.
At present, animal haulers are not required by law to be trained in animal handling. We have proposed that training and certification programs be made mandatory and that penalties, including the potential loss of a license, be established for those who repeatedly violate regulations.
No matter how progressive regulations are, they are relatively ineffective if sufficient funding is not available for enforcement. We have recommended that more funding be provided – either from within CFIA or from the Ministry of Agriculture – to facilitate increased inspector activity and enable sufficient enforcement of these regulations.