Transporting horses in Canada
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Anyone wanting to transport horses must first ensure that the animals are healthy enough to handle the stress of transportation. When in doubt, seek the advice of a veterinarian or contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) before loading animals.
To help protect horses during travel, transporters must:
- be knowledgeable and skilled about the handling and transporting of horses
- have contingency plans in place to address unusual or unexpected transport events
- assess and monitor horses during loading and throughout in their capacity to withstand transportation
- provide feed, water and rest at required intervals.
- horses must not be without feed and water for longer than 28 hours, after which they must have a rest period of at least 8 consecutive hours before resuming their journey
- provide immediate attention to animals that become unfit for transport, including veterinary care or euthanasia at the scene if necessary
- handle animals during loading, confinement, transport and unloading in a manner that does not cause or is not likely to cause suffering, injury or death
- use appropriate loading and unloading facilities and equipment, such as chutes with break-out walls, self-aligning loading docks, and ramps with slopes that do not exceed 30° and are properly lit
- use suitable vehicles that provide adequate ventilation, non-slip footing surfaces, appropriate bedding and protection from the weather
- ensure that horses are not subjected to unnecessary suffering or death due to overcrowding
- ensure horses are:
- able to stand at all times with all feet on the floor, with head elevated
- with sufficient space to permit a full range of head movement
- without any part of its body coming into contact with a deck, roof or top of the conveyance or cover of the container
- ensure horses are not transported in conveyances with multiple decks
Everyone responsible for transporting horses must follow Canada's animal transport requirements. The CFIA recognizes that the majority of transporters treat animals with care. The few who do not may face fines or prosecution. As well, imported loads of improperly transported animals may be refused entry into Canada.
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