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Specified Risk Material - Requirements for Transporting Cattle

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Enhanced animal health safeguards are in place to help eliminate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, from Canada.

Certain cattle tissues, known as specified risk materials (SRM), are banned from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers. As a result, there are new requirements for anyone handling, transporting and disposing of cattle carcasses.

In practical terms, all dead cattle require a permit issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to be transported and received.

Cattle dying in transit

If cattle die during transportation, the carcass is considered to be SRM. Therefore, a permit is required to bring the carcass back to the premises of origin or to a facility in Canada that is permitted by the CFIA to store, process or dispose of SRM.

SRM transportation permits

If a commercial trucking company regularly transports cattle for auction or slaughter and there is a chance of mortalities during transit, the CFIA recommends that the company apply for an annual SRM transportation permit. This allows the company to transport an unlimited number of bovine carcasses under the same permit for up to one year. One permit number will be issued for the entire fleet, with each of the vehicles in the fleet listed on the permit itself.

If a cow dies in transit and the company does not have an annual SRM transportation permit, the driver should call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 and request an emergency SRM permit. The CFIA permit officer on-call will request the following information:

At the conclusion of the call, the inspector will provide the number of a permit, which will be valid for 48 hours or less. An actual copy of the SRM permit will be provided during an ensuing inspection. This copy should be retained for record-keeping purposes.

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