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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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Complaints Filed With Authorities After Bleeding Turkey Witnessed on Transport Truck

Animal Justice June 7, 2017

DUBLIN, Ontario – Animal cruelty complaints have been filed with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after a witness documented a turkey with a bleeding foot and chest aboard a transport truck.

Ontario law requires animals to be transported in a way that ensures their physical safety. Federal agriculture laws prohibit exposing animals to undue suffering during transport.

The treatment of animals used for food during transportation has been in the public spotlight recently as the federal government has moved to update its 40-year-old transport regulations. Advocates criticize the regulations as permitting animals to suffer in crowded, unventilated, uninsulated trucks without access to food, water or rest. Transportation is so stressful that more than a million animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead each year in Canada, while millions more suffer from injuries and exposure.

“Our laws are supposed to provide basic protection to all animals, but they aren’t being properly enforced,” said Anna Pippus, lawyer and director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “If a dog was found in a car bleeding profusely and in obvious pain, the offender would be charged right away. Turkeys can suffer just like dogs can, and they’re entitled to the same legal protections.

“Farmed animals routinely endure egregious suffering in the course of business-as-usual farming practices. While society debates the ethics of farming animals, the least we can do is enforce the laws on the books to protect animals from illegal, preventable suffering.”

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A copy of the complaint can be found here.

For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Djurattsalliansen

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.

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

Animal Justice

461 total views, 0 today

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