WITH an estimated 1.59 million animals a year dying during transportation, the Canadian government is tightening the rules to better align the country’s requirements with international partners.
It estimates two per cent – 16 million animals a year – of all shipments are not in compliance with regulations.
“Given the strong public support for preventing the suffering of animals, and the risk to human and animal health, this must be addressed,” a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) report says.
It says the welfare changes it is making will increase consumer confidence, strengthen the country’s international trade status and facilitate market access.
The new regulations don’t take effect until February 2020 to allow the transport industry to adjust.
Canada’s chief veterinary officer Jaspinder Komal says the changes better align Canada’s requirements with the OIE’s animal welfare standards for animals transported by land, air and sea.
But the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says the regulations will likely increase stress to cattle and opportunity for injury, mostly because of the requirements for more unloading and loading for rest stops.
The CFIA says the amendments will increase consumer confidence, strengthen Canada’s international trade status and facilitate market access.
“The overall objective is that animals arrive at their destination safely, and are suitably fed, hydrated and rested,” it says.
Under the regulations, animals must be able to stand at all times with all feet on the floor, head elevated, sufficient space to permit a full range of head movement and without any part of its body coming into contact with any part of the transport vehicle.
Transporters will be required to provide animals with feed of an appropriate type for its species, age and condition and in amounts preventing a nutritional deficit; enough water to prevent dehydration; and appropriate rest for the species to prevent exhaustion.
Ruminants too young to be fed exclusively on hay and grain have to be given feed, water and rest within 12 hours of this happening before loading.