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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.

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The new regulations are available here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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One Year Later, No Justice for Victims of Burlington Pig Truck Rollover

Animal Justice October 6, 2017

This week marks a gruesome anniversary: One year ago, a truck carrying 180 pigs to slaughter rolled over outside the notorious Fearmans Pork slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. Dozens of baby pigs died in the horrific crash.

For animal advocates on the scene, it will always be impossible to forget the brutal suffering they witnessed. Some pigs died immediately, some suffered traumatic injuries, and others staggered around, dazed and in pain. Pigs were left to suffer for hours in the sun without medical attention.

While witnesses documented the carnage and made phone calls to animal welfare authorities pleading for assistance, the slaughterhouse showed no mercy. It put up barriers in a desperate attempt to conceal the scene from public view.

Bystanders pleaded with the slaughterhouse, asking to rescue some of the victims and bring them to a sanctuary. But workers ignored them and instead forced injured and escaped pigs to walk to their own death in the gas chambers of the plant. One video shows pigs being hit with paddles.

One of the pigs, unable to move, was shot in the head with a captive bolt pistol in front of traumatized witnesses.

After the incident, Animal Justice filed a legal complaint with authorities and demanded prosecution for clear violations of the Criminal Code, provincial animal protection laws, and federal transport laws. Thousands of people signed petitions calling for charges to be laid, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ontario SPCA both failed to prosecute.

Instead, the police charged the driver with careless driving—essentially, a traffic ticket. One year later, there has been no justice for the young pigs who experienced appalling suffering at the hands of the meat industry. Their pain and deaths have escaped the scrutiny of the legal system.

Canada still has no federal regulations for the on-farm treatment of farmed animals, and a recent proposal to update archaic federal animal transport laws is deeply flawed. Meanwhile, the rules that do exist are seldom enforced.

Please take action today to ask the government to take animal protection seriously and improve Canada’s outdated transport laws.

 

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Photo: Julie O’Neill

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Statement on Chicken Cruelty Exposed on National TV

Animal Justice March 29, 2015

maple lodgeTORONTO – On Saturday evening, CTV’s W5 aired disturbing undercover footage of chickens being abused, apparently in violation of federal and provincial law. The footage was shot at one of Canada’s largest slaughterhouses, owned by Maple Lodge Farms.

Maple Lodge Farms is currently on probation following convictions in 2013 for 20 counts of animal cruelty offences under the federal Health of Animals Act. Moreover, in the first three quarters of 2014—the year following its conviction—it was fined for 14 separate animal welfare violations, significantly more than any other company in Canada.

Animal Justice Canada, a national charity that works to encourage enforcement of animal protection laws to prevent animals from abuse and killing, is now calling for charges against Maple Lodge Farms.

“Federal humane handling policy prohibits throwing and dropping crates of live chickens, shackling sick and injured birds for slaughter, negligently sending live animals through industrial washing machines, and allowing animals to dangle by one leg through the slaughter process,” said Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice.

“Maple Lodge Farms should be held accountable for its pattern of unlawfully putting profits ahead of animal welfare. Canadians expect our government to rigorously enforce the animal protection laws that have been democratically enacted in this country.”

“When we use animals for food, our minimum legal and moral obligations are to prevent egregious animal suffering. Chickens are no different from our beloved cats and dogs in their capacity to experience fear and pain, and they are no less deserving of, or legally entitled to, protection.”

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Media Contact:
Anna Pippus, J.D.
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
APippus@AnimalJustice.ca
1-604-338-0806

To view the undercover footage, please visit: www.MapleLodgeHarms.ca.

Animal Justice

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