THE BRITISH COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

 

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The Issue

Annually across Canada, 700 million farm animals are transported from farms to auction and slaughter. Nearly two million of those animals die during the transport process, and an estimated 12 million more are injured or become ill.

The Canadian government has proposed new laws, and public comments are due by February 15!

Every unique submission counts: your comment could be the tipping point on whether the law is updated. Consider the points below, then click on the blue button and draft your own thoughts; make sure they know you’re an individual citizen and not a robot! You will be emailing your recommendations to the staff at Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Foods.


 
 

If the blue button above doesn't work for you, you can send the email to animaltransportanimaux@inspection.gc.ca. Please consider copying us at advocacy@spca.bc.ca as we are tracking the number of submissions!

What they did well

Added clear standards for mandatory training, handling, loading ramps, and care during resting times. They also added sections that make sure transporters plan ahead for delays or emergencies. They also clearly defined situations where animals are at risk of suffering during transport and those that should not be transported due to their poor welfare status.

Our biggest concerns

1. Space to survive

Recommend: Adopt clear standards for space allowances according to each animal species, based on the EU standards (Chapter VII of Council Regulation (EC)1/2005), with recommendations from the 2011 EFSA Scientific Opinion Concerning the Welfare of Animals during Transport.
  There are no details in the draft law outlining the amount of space each animal should have while being transported. This is easy to calculate and helps to hold transport agencies accountable before an animal becomes injured (instead of when it is too late). This kind of detail helps to prevent animals from being trampled or stabbed with horns.

2. Extreme temperatures and airflow

Recommend: Adopt clear standards for weather and ventilation requirements, based on the 2005 EU standards, with recommendations from the 2011 EFSA Scientific Opinion.
  While the words weather and ventilation are mentioned in the draft law, there is no detail around what are acceptable temperatures for animals. The EU standards and EFSA scientific report go into great detail, explaining that vehicles must be able to maintain temperatures between 5 and 25 degrees Celsius. They also require a ventilation system with an airflow capacity of at least 60 m3/h/KN which can run for at least 4 hours, even if the engine is turned off. Additionally, road transport vehicles must have temperature monitoring throughout the vehicle, with warning systems for the drivers if the temperature is nearing the maximum or minimum limit. This kind of system helps to prevent animals from suffocating, freezing, or overheating.

3. Long transport time without opportunities to eat, drink and rest

Recommend: Adopt lengths of time without food, water, and rest that are up to date with the scientific knowledge we have about what animals need. Base the numbers on the 2005 EU standards, with recommendations from the 2011 EFSA Scientific Opinion.
  The most recent scientific studies suggests cattle should be given at least one hour of rest and water after 14 hours of transport. The draft laws ignore this and suggest 36 hours with no food or water, which is 22 more hours than recommended. It also allows transporters to ship cats and dogs with no food or water for 36 hours. There are similar issues for horses, pigs, rabbits, and chickens. All proposed times are too long by animal welfare standards, leading animals to experience suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.

4. Stressful handling

Recommend: Set clear boundaries for the use of an electric prod, labelling it as a last case scenario if the worker or animal is in danger. Recommend that lifting animals by their legs, head, and horns is prohibited. Recommend that animals must be handled with care in a patient and relaxed manner.
  The draft law allows the handler to use an electric prod on adult animals with no boundaries. It also allows them to lift animals by their legs, head, and horns. The EU standards prohibit all of these. Animals do not respond well to yelling, aggression, and stress; handlers who are loud and aggressive can cause animals to be injured unnecessarily.

Next steps

  • Please, take the time to share this with a friend! The more people that respond to this public comment period, the better our chances are at seeing change. 
  • The BC SPCA is submitting a response with detailed recommendations on every aspect of the proposed law. Read our submission here.




Learn more about farm animal transport in Canada

While on-farm animal welfare is primarily regulated by the province, the responsibility of ensuring the humane transportation of animals is that of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The Transportation of Animals Regulations referenced in the Health of Animals Act prohibit the transport of ill or injured animals to prevent undue suffering.

Our historical work on this issue:

 

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