Compromised or unfit animals at assembly centres – Text version
Under Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR), an assembly centre is any place where animals from different sources are temporarily collected to be sold or redirected to other site(s). Examples include auction markets, sale barns, assembly yards, and facilities holding animals for an abattoir.
Animals who are compromised or unfit cannot be loaded to be transported to an assembly centre. Transporting compromised and unfit animals in the same manner as animals who are fit and healthy causes unnecessary suffering. Unloading, commingling, reloading and delays occurring at assembly centres add to the suffering. Transporters and assembly centres must work together to ensure positive animal welfare outcomes.
Animals who were in good condition at the moment of loading may become compromised or unfit en route. In these rare cases:
- transporters need to refer to their contingency plan
- an assembly centre may be the nearest suitable place to stop and manage these animals to prevent unnecessary suffering (this is allowed in regulations)
- transporters should contact the assembly centre prior to arrival (communication between all parties is important)
Assembly centres should be prepared
- Train staff to recognize compromised and unfit animals, and if unsure, to notify their supervisor when one arrives.
- Have a written policy shared with your clients indicating that loading compromised and unfit animals for transport to your site is not accepted.
Information for assembly centres: what to do if a compromised or unfit animal arrives on-site
A compromised or unfit animal arrives.
Scenario 1 - You don't have the facilities and the ability to provide care for the specific condition of the animal or to humanely kill the animal.
- Refuse to receive the animal
- Recommend to document your actions and reason
Scenario 2 - You have the facilities and the ability to provide care for the specific condition of the animal or to humanely kill the animal.
- Accept the animal and manage the situation and animal in front of you
- Provide the care needed for the animal's condition OR humanely kill the animal
- Before you load the animal for further transport, assess their fitness for the intended journey
- This is the responsibility of all parties involved
- If the animal is fit for the intended transport then you may transport them
- If the animal is considered compromised for transport:
- provide care until the animal is no longer considered compromised
- transport directly to the nearest suitable place to receive care for their specific condition (be sure to document the rationale) or
- transport directly to the nearest suitable place to humanely kill, such as a local abattoir (be sure to document the rationale)
- If the animal is considered unfit for transport:
- transport only for veterinary care under the advice of a veterinarian (be sure to document the rationale)
- provide care until the animal is no longer considered unfit, or
- humanely kill on site
Comply with the humane transport requirements
All animals loaded for transport to an assembly centre must be fit for the intended journey. Contact your local CFIA Animal Health office with any questions or concerns.
It's illegal to:
- load a compromised or unfit animal for transport to an assembly centre
- reload a compromised or unfit animal without using special provisions
Enforcement action may be taken towards any person involved in any of these illegal activities (producer, transporter, assembly centre operator, employee, buyer, etc.). This also applies to those who are involved in the decision-making process to reload the animal(s).
Special provisions if transporting an unfit or compromised animal
- Isolate the animal
- Load or unload the animal alone without using interior ramps
- Take special measures to prevent unnecessary suffering