MONTREAL – Humane Society International/Canada is expressing its severe disappointment with the long-awaited amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations (Humane Transportation), published today in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The new animal transportation regulations fall far short of addressing the most serious risks to animal welfare, and will not fulfill their stated goal of ensuring that animals are treated humanely while transported between farms, slaughterhouses, auction markets and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the regulations still allow hundreds of millions of animals to be transported for up to 72 hours without food, water or rest, depending on the species. Moreover, there are no meaningful requirements to protect animals from inclement weather, and only vague instructions for proper animal handling techniques and appropriate space allowances.
Riana Topan, campaign manager for farm animal welfare with HSI/Canada, stated: “Canadians strongly oppose animal suffering, and it is extremely disappointing that the CFIA continues to cater to the interests of the industries it is supposed to regulate, rather than the views of the public it represents. These new laws will do little to stop millions of animals from arriving dead, dying or injured at slaughterhouses each year because transport conditions will continue to be very poor.”
Animal advocates have long called on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to improve animal transport laws and bring them in line with those of Canada’s trading partners, such as the European Union and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Moreover, instead of ensuring that Canada’s regulations are informed by scientific research, the updated laws appear to have been influenced by livestock industry lobbyists who strongly opposed any changes to the regulations. In fact, investigations into the CFIA’s internal review process revealed that industry representatives fought hard to ensure that maximum allowable transportation times were not significantly reduced, even though CFIA staff recognized shorter times to be better for animals.
Topan continued: “Approximately 800 million farm animals will be transported in Canada at some point this year, and for each of these animals, transportation will be one of the most stressful experiences they are forced to endure. It is unacceptable that laws designed to protect animals have remained mostly unchanged since they were last updated in 1977. Canada has missed an important opportunity to bring its regulations in line with the best available scientific evidence, which shows that animals should not be transported for more than eight hours without a break.”
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