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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.

-30-

The new regulations are available here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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Authorities Investigating After Witness Documents Blood Streaming from Cow Transport Truck

Animal Justice September 1, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, ON—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after a witness saw blood streaming from and caked onto the side of a transport truck at a rest station. Video footage shot at the scene shows a cow with a gaping, bleeding wound aboard the truck, which had Manitoba plates.

Witness Amber Gionet said: “I couldn’t believe how much blood I saw all over the truck, with even more blood coming out of a cow’s open wound. It was heartbreaking to see these gentle and curious animals in such an ugly situation. They deserve so much better than to be injured and forgotten on a transport truck in the middle of the night.”

Ontario law prohibits animal cruelty, and specifically requires animals be transported in a way that ensures their physical safety and welfare. Federal law prohibits over-crowding animals or transporting injured animals, and requires trucks to be free from protrusions or other construction flaws that injure animals.

Veterinarian Maureen Harper reviewed the video footage and said: “This wound appears to be quite severe and the animal would be suffering. Possible causes of the wound are overcrowding, or sharp protrusions or fittings on the vehicle; or it could have been an older wound that was re-opened in transit. This incident needs to be investigated.”

The witnessed reported the incident to the Ontario SPCA which declined to open an investigation, instead instructing the witness to call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). OMAFRA in turn instructed the witness to call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, said: “Canadian animal welfare laws are notoriously weak and under-enforced. This is a case-in-point of how egregious animal cruelty slips through the cracks. We see far too much farmed animal suffering chalked up to business as usual, while law enforcement plays hot potato with animal cruelty reports.”

Animal transport laws are under scrutiny right now as an Ontario woman stands trial for giving water to heat-stressed pigs aboard a transport truck—she has been charged with criminal mischief for interfering with the farmer’s property, his pig. Canadian transport laws are decades old and have been widely criticized for being the worst in the Western world. Drivers aren’t required to have any animal welfare training or licensing.

-30-

For more information, please contact:
Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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Canadians Protest Cruel Farm Animal Transportation Practices on Global Day of Action

Animal Justice August 29, 2016

VANCOUVER, CALGARY, TORONTO — Animal advocates held demonstrations across the country on Monday to condemn Canada’s outdated farmed animal transportation rules, which subject animals to brutal and often fatal conditions. The events are part of an international day of action with more than 70 cities participating, from Tanzania to Indonesia to Buenos Aires.

Last week, a criminal trial began in Burlington, Ontario for animal activist Anita Krajnc, who gave water to dehydrated pigs aboard a transport truck. She has been charged with criminal mischief for interfering with the farmer’s “property”—the pigs. Part of her defence is that Canada’s transport laws are outdated and under-enforced. The case is receiving significant international media coverage.

Canada’s transport regulations are decades old, lagging behind all other Western countries. Animals are exposed to extreme weather, shocked with electric prods, and trucked long distances without food, water, or rest. Some animals suffocate or are injured from the intense crowding. Drivers aren’t required to have any animal welfare or handling training.

The demonstrations are being held on Monday, August 29th:

  • Toronto: Intersection of Yonge and Dundas, S.W. corner, 1 – 3 p.m. (Event link.)
  • Calgary: Harry Hays Government Building, 2240 4th Avenue S.E., 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Event link.) Note: this event will focus on live horse export from Calgary to Japan.
  • Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, 12 – 1 p.m. (Event link.)

Former Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian Dr. Maureen Harper says: “Canadian farm animal transport regulations are woefully inadequate and outdated. And unfortunately, there are too many instances in which existing regulations are not being enforced. As a result, far too many animals are forced to endure needless suffering during transport.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, says: “Canada’s decades-old transport regulations are the worst in the Western world and a national disgrace. The federal government is responsible for 750 million vulnerable farmed animals each year, yet it inexplicably refuses to update the welfare regulations or ensure compliance with the weak laws we do have.”

The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals has initiated a Parliamentary petition, sponsored by Liberal MP Alexandra Mendès, calling for the Minister of Agriculture to modernize Canada’s transport regulations. So far it has garnered five thousand signatures.

In 2014, CTV’s W5 aired secretly recorded footage showing animals being beaten and kicked by transport personnel, injured animals being shocked with electric prods, and animals so crowded they were forced to climb on top of each other. Federal law enforcement agents were present but failed to act.

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For more information about Canada’s outdated transportation regulations and how they stack up to those of the European Union, please see here and here.

These events are being coordinated as part of Compassion in World Farming’s Not Freight global day of action. For more information, please visit the event site at www.NotFreight.org.

Contacts:

TORONTO
Stephanie Brown, director, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals
info@humanefood.ca

CALGARY
Maureen Hurly, organizer, Canadians Against Live Export
mhy88@shaw.ca

Dr. Maureen Harper, veterinarian
dr.maureenharper@gmail.com

VANCOUVER
Anna Pippus, lawyer and director of farmed animal advocacy, Animal Justice
apippus@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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