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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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Authorities Investigate Footage of Pigs Crammed in Sweltering Manitoba Transport Truck

Animal Justice August 3, 2018

BRANDON, MB—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating potential animal protection law violations after viewing footage showing pigs crammed into a transport truck, pushed together and climbing on top of each other, on a sweltering day in July. The footage was captured outside the Maple Leaf Foods pig slaughterhouse in Brandon, Manitoba by members of Manitoba Animal Save, who also recorded the temperature inside the truck at nearly 40 degrees Celsius.

“It was heartbreaking to see the animals crammed in next to each other in such unbearable heat,” said Cheryl Sobie, an organizer with Manitoba Animal Save. “Some animals were panting and foaming at the mouth, which we know means they’re heat-stressed. Others seemed to have given up. If this were a truck full of dogs, people would rightfully be outraged. There’s no reason not to extend the same consideration to pigs, who are equally sentient. Sadly, our group regularly documents farmed animals in similar conditions, leading us to believe it’s common across the country.”

“Federal law prohibits crowding animals in transport, and guidelines indicate that animals must be given even more space on hot days,” said Anna Pippus, an animal rights lawyer for the animal law non-profit Animal Justice. “However, animal protection laws in Canada are weak, vague, and under-enforced. This is a case in point. Business-as-usual in Canada’s animal farming system is in desperate need of an overhaul. Government must hold transporters accountable for routinely putting profit and convenience ahead of the basic needs of the vulnerable animals in their care.”

Pigs don’t have sweat glands and have no way to cool themselves in sweltering weather aboard unventilated metal trucks. Transport trucks aren’t equipped with fans or water sprinklers, but pigs are transported every day of the year regardless of weather.

Canada’s animal transport laws haven’t been updated in four decades and have been criticized by experts as being the worst in the western world. Pigs can be trucked for up to 36 hours without a break for rest, food or water. Government data show that in 2017, over 14,000 pigs arrived at slaughterhouses dead, having died en route.

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The footage can be seen here.

For more information, contact:

Cheryl Sobie
manitobaanimalsave@gmail.com

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

 

 

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