Each year in Canada, around 700 million farmed animals suffer routine abuses and traumas during their transport to auction and slaughter. These animals experience tremendous psychological and physiological stress as they are transported in cramped, overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and can be subjected to rough handling, beatings and electric shocks; and all this without food, water, rest, or protection from extreme temperatures. Under current laws, these horrific conditions can last up to 72 hours.
As a result, many animals suffer from injuries and disease during their journey, and every year millions of farm animals die before ever reaching their destination. In fact, millions of animals arrive dead at Canadian inspected slaughterhouses each year, and millions more arrive so badly injured that they are unable to even walk. These animals, known as “downers,” can be dragged off transport trucks and into slaughter facilities, despite the Canadian Food Inspection Agency prohibitions on doing so (CFIA is a department of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada that oversees animal transport).
Despite the prevalence of abuse and more than 500,000 truckloads of animals on the road each year, enforcement is inadequate, with too few CFIA inspectors and only spot-check inspections on Canadian highways. The Canadian government is needlessly turning a blind eye to the suffering of hundreds of millions of animals.
What we’re doing
HSI/Canada is fighting to reduce the level of suffering endured by what is perhaps the largest single group of animals — those destined for slaughter for human consumption.
HSI works to share knowledge about humane handling and transport and is part of the Handle with Care campaign, an international coalition calling for an end to the long distance transportation of animals for slaughter all around the globe.
The regulations concerning the transport of animals to auction and slaughter are woefully outdated. Draft updates to the regulations governing animals in transport have been completed, but Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAuley has yet to publish these new regulations and allow Canadians to comment on their content.