Help change Canada’s animal transport regulations which are among the worst in the world

In Canada each year, approximately 700 million farm animals are transported from farm to auction or slaughter, often travelling long distances, sometimes up to 52 hours to a slaughterhouse. Of these animals, 1.6 million are found dead on arrival, likely due to the long, grueling journeys where trucks are not required to provide temperature control, food or water. Many animals suffer from stress-induced illnesses and injuries.

Transportation is an extremely stressful experience for farm animals and our regulations are decades old. They allow cattle and sheep to be transported for up to 52 hours continuously with no food, water or rest. Pigs, horses and birds can be transported for up to 36 hours. Animal transporters do not need any training on how to handle animals humanely or to drive safely with them on board. Canada has some of the worst animal transport regulations in the world. 

Cow on its way to slaughter in the Greater Toronto Area with frozen ice all over it’s body and face ~Picture from Toronto Pig Save

In comparison, the European Union does not permit the industry to transport species longer than eight hours. Regulations that set out maximum loading densities to prevent overcrowding are strictly enforced.

In December 2016, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) released Canada’s new draft transport regulations. After more than 10 years of pushing for an overhaul of our outdated regulations, the proposed changes are inadequate in providing well-being to farm animals. The focus was on transport times and although CFIA suggested much lower times as part of the ongoing consultation, the industry pushed back hard and the number of hours increased.

The CFIA will release the final draft in 2019.  It is imperative that we keep up our efforts to speak up for these animals.  Take the action steps outlined below!

The current transport times allowed are as follows:

Maximum Hours of

Maximum Hours of
Transportation &
Market Pigs 36 hours 40 hours
Sheep48 hours52 hours
Nursing Calves18 hours
Calves/Special Diet12 hours
Cattle48 hours52 hours
Lactating Dairy Cows12 hours
Horses24 hours40 hours
Chickens/Turkeys36 hours40 hours

Provided below are the speaking and writing points from Animal Justice that you can use as a guideline to express how deeply disappointed you are with the new transport regulations and that they simply aren’t enough to protect our farm animals.

  • Canada’s animal transport laws are some of the worst in the western world.
  • Proposed updates to the rules are deeply disappointing and will not protect animals from egregious suffering during animal transport
  • Forcing animals to endure long journeys without food, water and rest while being exposed to extreme, injurious, and sometimes fatal weather conditions is inexcusable
  • Please do not miss this opportunity to bring Canada’s animal transport laws into the 21st century.
  • The new rules still allow the industry to transport animals long distances without food, water or rest; do not protect animals from extreme weather conditions; and still allow for the use of electric prods
  • Please ensure the maximum transport time for all species without food, water or rest is no longer than eight hours
  • Please ensure transport trucks are insulated and ventilated, with specific temperature limits set and monitored
  • Please prohibit electric prods
  • Ban teeth cutting
  • Ban throwing animals and holding them by their legs
  • Require hydraulic lifting systems and lower ramps
  • Require drivers and transport companies to provide training and adhere to welfare standards
  • Impose stronger penalties 

 Learn more about the current Transport Code of Practice from 2001

How Can You Help?  Follow the Critical Action Steps below

1. Sign the petition from Animal Justice
2. Meet/call/email your MP to express your concerns with Canada’s animal transport regulations

3. Call/Write/Email the CFIA:
Dr. Cornelius F. Kiley
National Manager, Animal Welfare
Biosecurity and Assurance Programs Section
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive, 3rd Floor East, Room 231
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0Y9
Telephone: (613) 773-7028
Fax: (613) 773-7567
4. Call/Write/Email the Minister of Agriculture 
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan)
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 995-9325
Fax: (613) 995-2754
5. Make sure you reply if you get a response back so they know it’s not a spam email and that you are a real person.
6. Repeat the steps above throughout the next several months and ask for updates
ate with unanimous consent in 2018 but now it must move through the House of Commons before it can become law.

7. Go plant-based: Changing transport laws only improves the conditions for animals but the best way to help them is to stop supporting the industry. There’s no such thing as “humane” meat. Animals still go through unimaginable suffering on factory farms and slaughterhouses. Try a Vegan Diet! Even Canada’s New Food Guide supports a more plant-based diet and recognizes the environmental impact of animal based diets.
8. Attend a vigil with The Save Movement and bear witness and see with your own eyes the suffering of the animals. Nothing is more powerful than coming face to face with the victims in our food industry.
9. Share with all your friends, family and social media networks

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