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Transport of lactating animals

Transport of lactating animals - description follows
Transport of lactating animals - Text version

Anyone transporting a lactating animal in Canada needs to meet specific requirements to make sure the animal is fit for the intended journey.

Step 1: assess the lactating animal before transporting it.

Is the animal comfortable, with no signs of pain or udder engorgement? (signs of engorgement can include hardness, redness, pain, heat of the udder)

  • If no, the animal is considered unfit and must not be transported. Animals with udder/mammary engorgement are considered unfit for transport.
  • If yes, move on to Step 2.

Step 2: assess the risk factors related to lactation during transport.

Are any of the following practices being used to prevent mammary engorgement if the animal has not been dried off?

  • Reaching her final destination before becoming engorged
  • Travelling with her suckling offspring
  • Being milked en-route
  • If no or unknown, the animal is considered compromised and must be transported as such. Maximum of 12 hours without feed, water, or rest. The animal is compromised and will need to be milked regularly to prevent engorgement.
  • If yes, animal may be transported. Maximum of 36 hours without feed, water or rest for ruminants. Move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Monitor en-route.

Is the animal still okay? Keep an eye on animals in heavy lactation since they are at higher risk of becoming engorged or feeling pain; monitor accordingly!

  • If no, take the following actions because this animal has become compromised or unfit en-route:
    • take measures to prevent suffering
    • go directly to the nearest suitable place for care, humane killing or humanely kill in conveyance
  • If yes, continue the transport journey and continue to monitor.


Unfit: an unfit animal can only be transported directly to a place to receive veterinary care and under the recommendation of a veterinarian.

Compromised: a compromised animal can only be transported directly for slaughter or to a place to receive care for its condition. It cannot be transported to an assembly centre or auction market.

Requirements if transporting an unfit or compromised animal

  • Isolate the animal
  • Load or unload the animal alone without negotiating interior ramps
  • Take special measures to prevent unnecessary suffering
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