Chapter 11 - Humane transportation of animals
11.1 Humane Transportation of Animals
The CFIA regulates the humane transportation of animals and the humane treatment of food animals in federal abattoirs.
1. The objective of this section is to familiarize accredited veterinarians with humane transportation requirements under the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) Part XII Transport of Animals and the role of private accredited veterinary practitioners in humane transport. Part XII of the HAR was amended and the new requirements came into force as of Feb. 20, 2020.
2. In collaboration with CFIA district veterinarians, accredited veterinarians are in an ideal position to educate and influence clients to transport animals in a humane manner through the provision of professional advice, by referring clients to existing resource materials, and by applying information arising from scientific research. Accredited veterinarians can draw the client's attention to adverse impacts of bad practices on animal welfare, and to influence the client before practices become entrenched.
3. The CFIA humane transport and animal welfare website has links that will help regulated parties and accredited veterinarians to interpret, understand and apply the regulations. In addition to CFIA's humane transport and animal welfare website and the regulatory interpretive guidance (IG) (helpful resource for understanding the regulations), the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals are appropriate resources for veterinarians and their clients. Dr. Temple Grandin's Website (www.grandin.com) also contains information on livestock care and transport.
4. Part XII of the HAR defines what conditions make an animal unfit for transport, and compromised for transport and therefore requiring special provisions. A Transporting unfit or compromised animals fact sheet is available on CFIA's website. These definitions and policies were formerly part of the CFIA's Compromised Animals Policy and are now contained within the regulations. An animal that is assessed as unfit prior to transport can only be transported directly to a place where it can receive veterinary care and only if a veterinarian recommends it. It is prohibited to go to a slaughter establishment or assembly centre. An animal that is assessed as compromised prior to transport can only be transported directly to the nearest place where it can receive care or be humanely killed (including going to a slaughter establishment). Compromised animals cannot be transported to an assembly centre (including an auction market, assembly yard or a holding facilities).
In the situation where an animal becomes unfit during transport, it may go to a slaughter establishment or assembly centre if it is the nearest suitable place to receive care or be humanely killed.
In the situation where an animal becomes compromised during transport, it may go to an assembly centre if it is the nearest suitable place to receive care or be humanely killed.
The intent is to ensure that animals that are suffering in transit are taken to the nearest place to receive care or be humanely killed (any practical place).
5. The Health of Animals Regulations prohibit the transportation of all animals under conditions that would expose them to injury or suffering. Examples of such conditions include: loading or transporting animals that are not fit for the intended journey; the use of inadequately constructed vehicles; failure to provide for animals' needs for feed, safe water, and rest; inadequate ventilation; overcrowding; and the use of improper loading and unloading facilities. Maximum times that animals may go without feed, water and rest are prescribed in the regulations and a comparison with previous times is found in the Then versus Now fact sheet. Note that the Feed – Water – Rest interval differs from the confinement and transportation time periods as indicated below.
6. The Health of Animals Regulations apply broadly to those who load or transport, or those who cause animals to be loaded or transported. This applies to the trucker, the exporter or producer as well as to the accredited veterinarian. Assess all animals prior to loading to ensure they are capable of withstanding the rigors of the intended journey taking into consideration their physical condition, age, length of the trip, weather conditions and intermediate stops including auction centres or assembly yards. The required outcome is to prevent injury, suffering, death or nutritional deficit, fatigue & dehydration in the animals transported. Veterinarians are obliged to comply with the Regulations in the advice that they provide to their clients. It is also important to note that in certifying an animal for export, the veterinarian is also certifying the animal for fitness to transport.
7. An accredited veterinarian must not certify for export animals that are not fit for the expected journey. Refer to conditions contained in Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations available on the CFIA Website. An accredited veterinarian could face enforcement action by CFIA if it is determined that they knowingly certified animals for export that were not fit for the intended journey. An accredited veterinarian has a responsibility to notify a CFIA district veterinarian when made aware of any situation in which an individual is not complying with the regulations and animals are being subject to inhumane conditions or unnecessary pain or suffering during transport.
8. Any animal transported by any conveyance shall be subject to inspection at all times by a CFIA inspector if the inspector suspects the presence of a reportable disease, inhumane transportation or any other noncompliance with the HAR.
The Health of Animals Regulations Part XII Transport of Animals require that transporters:
Box Have knowledge of the species they are transporting
Box Have knowledge about best transport practices for the species in question
Box Assess animals prior to transport for their ability to withstand the planned journey
Box Have knowledge of animal handling; know when special handling is required and use it
Box Have an animal monitoring plan during transport and a contingency plan
Box Consider factors that impact animal transport
- Condition of the animal (current/ pre-existing)
- Space requirements
- Secure footing
- Compatibility with others
- Expected time in transport before receiving feed, water and rest
- Foreseeable delays
- Weather conditions/changes
- Driving conditions
- Type/condition of transport equipment
Box Document when animals were last fed, watered and rested
Box Keep documentation including
- An animal transport record
- transfer of care document
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