The federal government has finally released the new farmed animal transport regulations, which were last revised in 1977. Alarmingly, the new rules fail to address some of the most major animal welfare concerns and offer only minor improvements to the existing, outdated regulations.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) own statistics indicate that approximately 14 million animals suffer injuries during transportation annually in Canada and almost 1.6 million are reported dead on arrival each year. The agency also noted that the existing regulations did not reflect the current science regarding the care and handling of animals and failed to align with the standards of Canada’s international trading partners.
Yet the new regulations still fall significantly short of meeting the best available science and still do not reflect other international standards. Transport is a stressful process for farmed animals and internal CFIA documents revealed that the CFIA’s original intention was to drastically reduce transport times under the new regulations. Officials also indicated in briefing notes that transport times between eight and 12 hours were ideal. But under pressure from industry lobbyists, the CFIA abandoned its own recommendations.
For example, the CFIA initially proposed a maximum of 24 hours in transport for day-old chicks, but lobbying by the meat industry led to the maximum time being changed to 72 hours under the new regulations. Similarly, maximum times for cattle changed from a proposed 28 hours to 36 and spent hens, who are deemed no longer productive for the egg industry and are incredibly vulnerable, went from a proposed maximum of 12 hours to up to 28 hours.
Meanwhile, the European Union has a maximum transport time of eight hours for most animals, while in New Zealand and Australia it ranges from 12 to 24 hours.
Shockingly, animals can still be transported in all types of weather without protection from the elements – a situation that has been increasingly making headlines in recent years, when the public encounters transported animals in distress during heat waves and cold snaps.
These “new” regulations will lead to the continued suffering of millions of animals every year across Canada. Join us in telling the federal Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, that the revised transport laws are unacceptable and fail to meet not only the best available science, but also the expectations of the Canadian public.
Read the recent coalition letter from 30 animal protection organizations, advocates, experts and Members of Parliament calling for stronger federal transport regulations