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New Animal Transport Regulations Condemn Animals to Suffer and Die

Animal Justice February 20, 2019

OTTAWA – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice is denouncing new farmed animal transport regulations released today by the federal government as a massive betrayal, falling far below the standards Canadians expect for animals.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ignored the tens of thousands Canadians who provided input during the revision process and demanded shorter transport times for animals, protections from severe weather, and an end to electric prods and other painful and appalling practices. Instead of creating rules that protect vulnerable animals from horrific suffering, the government appears to have let well-funded farm industry lobbyists write the rules to protect industry profits.

“Canada’s animal transport regulations have been a matter of national shame for decades, but the new rules do almost nothing to bring our laws in line with Canadians’ expectations or even the standards in other countries,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “The fingerprints of the meat and egg industries are all over these weak, ineffective rules. The revised regulations prove that the CFIA has been captured by industries that treat extreme animal cruelty as merely the cost of doing business.

“Transport is one of the most stressful experiences an animal will ever endure. Yet under the revised rules, it is still legal to transport vulnerable animals for lengthy periods without food, water, or rest. Animals can still be shipped in open-sided trucks in all weather conditions, even though many may freeze to death in the frigid cold, or die from overheating in sweltering, humid summers. It also remains legal to shock animals with electric prods.

“At least 1.59 million animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead or dying after transport. Animal advocates regularly document animals in trucks with severe frostbite and heath exhaustion. The revised regulations will do practically nothing to prevent this. It is heartbreaking that the government is refusing to crack down on an abusive industry that treats animals as commodities instead of the sensitive individuals that they are.”

Animal transport times are only slightly shorter in the new regulations, and where there was a conflict between animal welfare science and the economic convenience of the farming industry, the government ignored the science and bowed to the industry. For instance, the CFIA’s own science indicated that spent layer hens suffer after 12 hours of transport, as their bodies are weak, depleted, and vulnerable after years of being confined in cages and laying a high volume of eggs. When a 12-hour limit was initially proposed, the egg industry lobbied behind closed doors to increase transport times for spent hens to 28 hours, consistent with existing practices, to avoid spending any money to reduce animal suffering.

Other chickens can be transported for up to 36 hours. Cows can also be transported for 36 hours, down only slightly from 48 hours under the previous rules. In the United States, the maximum cow transport time is 28 hours, and in the European Union it is only eight hours.

Pigs can now be transported for 28 hours, down only flight from the previous 36 hour limit. In the European Union and New Zealand, the maximum pig transport time is only eight hours.

As with the previous rules, there are no temperature or weather restrictions on transport, and no requirement for temperature-controlled trucks as was universally recommended by animal protection organizations.

The transport regulations have also shifted to use outcome-based measures, rather than requiring specific standards that must be met. For example, instead of stating clearly how much space each animal should be afforded during transport, the new regulations simply state that overcrowding should be avoided. In general, outcome-based rules are completely inappropriate for animal use industries as a negative outcome must occur before enforcement action can be taken.

“Farmed animal welfare is almost completely unregulated by the federal government, with the industry largely left to police itself. It is appalling that in one of the only two areas where animals do benefit from laws—transport and slaughter—the government still lets the industry write its own rules. Animals are members of our society and legislators have a responsibility to protect them from suffering, not just to look out for corporate profits.”

Polling shows that over 95% of Canadians want to see stronger transport laws. After the CFIA released its first round of proposed amendments in December 2016, over 51,000 Canadians commented, with nearly all of those responses demanding improvements. At least 800 million animals are transported per year in Canada.


The new regulations are available here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director

Animal Justice

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Leading Animal Protection Advocates Call for Improved Federal Transport Regulations

Animal Justice February 6, 2019

OTTAWA—A coalition of animal protection organizations, experts, and Members of Parliament have issued an open letter to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, urging the government to strengthen regulations pertaining to the domestic transportation of animals. The coalition is comprised of humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and other animal advocates, all of whom wish to see these regulations—last updated in 1977—improved swiftly and significantly.

Humane Society International/Canada, along with 29 other animal protection agencies and advocates, is calling for the new regulations to be based on scientific evidence and international best practices, including standards established by the World Organisation for Animal Health. The open letter also recommends that said regulations outline clear, specific and measurable welfare requirements for the animal agriculture industry. Canada must take this opportunity to be a leader, rather than a laggard, in animal care.

WHO: HSI/Canada, Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Canada, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, Animal Justice, Mercy For Animals, Vancouver Humane Society, Edmonton Humane Society, Winnipeg Humane Society, Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals, Animal Alliance of Canada, Animal Protection Party of Canada, Canadians Against Live Export – YYC, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Born Free USA, Voice For Animals, Foundation of Animal Welfare Issues, The Save Movement, Toronto Pig Save, Toronto Chicken Save, Toronto Cow Save, Edmonton Animal Save, The Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS), Elizabeth May, M.P. and Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, M.P., Dr. Maureen Harper, Dr. Judith Samson-French, Dr. Moira Drosdovech, Dr. Michael Lavroff, Dr. Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun

WHAT: An open letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, requesting urgent improvements to the Health of Animals Regulations (Humane Transportation).

WHERE: The open letter is available here.

WHEN: The letter was issued February 6, 2019.

WHY: Current regulations allow animals to be transported for up to three days without food, water or rest, or adequate protection from inclement weather. The result is that approximately 14 million farm animals arrive dead, dying or injured at federally inspected slaughterhouses each year. Consumers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and the conditions in which farm animals are raised.



Camille Labchuk
Executive Director

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Animal Justice

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New Canada Food Guide Shifts Towards Plant-Based Eating—Rejecting Big Meat & Dairy Influence

Animal Justice January 22, 2019

The much-awaited changes to the Canada Food Guide have been released! The newest edition encourages Canadians to move away from excess dairy and meat consumption, and consume more plant-based foods.

The last time the Canada Food Guide was updated was in 2007. For years, Health Canada has been working on the newest version, relying on science, stakeholder, and public consultation—and rejecting meat and dairy lobbyists in the process.

In the new Canada Food Guide, one of the most noteworthy changes is the complete removal of the “meat and alternatives” and “dairy and alternatives” categories seen in previous versions. Instead, the new guide focuses on guidelines for healthy eating, with an emphasis on plant-based protein and fats, and stating that water is the optimal beverage.

These changes to the food guide are a win-win-win—for the health of Canadians, for the well-being of animals, and for the planet. Canada’s Food Guide has widespread influence, guiding regular citizens, schools, hospitals, and other institutions on the best way to create nutritious meals.

When the draft of the Canada Food Guide was released in 2017, it was faced with heavy opposition from Big Meat and Big Dairy. These industries attempted to lobby in support of recommending meat and dairy consumption, but to protect the integrity of the food guide, Health Canada refused to have closed-door meetings with the food industry.

But the federal lobbying records show that the meat and dairy industries tried to get around this by instead lobbying MPs and other decision makers to influence the guide’s outcome. The House of Commons Agriculture Committee even held public hearings, and issued a report suggesting the food guide reflect industry business priorities.

We applaud Health Canada for seeking truth from science, and refusing to bow down to the influence of industries that inflict horrific suffering on animals. These changes to the Canada Food Guide will surely inspire a more sustainable, animal-friendly, and healthier future for Canadians.



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