Canada’s transport regulations for animals to be updated

This month sees two initiatives to modernize regulations for animal transport in Canada:

  1. the federal government has released for public comment (until February 15, 2017) “Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals-Regulatory Amendment – Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties“;
  2. the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) aims to update its 2001 transportation Code of Practice in 2018, and as a first step has launched a survey “Priority Welfare Topic Areas for the Transportation Scientific Committee,” which closes Dec. 9, 2016.

The former is managed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which is empowered to enforce and administer the federal Health of Animals Act (HAA) and the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) for the transportation of animals into, within or out of Canada. The proposed amendments apply to all modes of transport including aircraft, carriage, motor vehicle, trailer, railway car, vessel, crate, cargo container or any other conveyance or contrivance used to move animals, and apply to all aspects of animal transport starting with:

  • handling the animal(s) for the purpose of loading,
  • loading the animal(s),
  • transporting the animal(s), and
  • unloading the animal(s).

The regulations define cases that render animals unfit for transportation and cases of compromised animals which are subject to strict limits of transportation.

The CFIA Guidelines refer specifically to the NFACC Code of Practice that provide detailed advice on such topics as ramp angles, step heights and load density for different species. There is a link to the 2001 Code on the NFACC survey page cited above.

Typical method of catching broiler chickens in a darkened barn.
Typical method of catching chickens in a darkened barn. Catchers generally carry 7 or 8 birds at a time and place them altogether in a wire crate for transport to a slaughterhouse. Current Canadian recommendations for maximum cold weather chicken load densities are 139 lb/10 sq. ft., less in warm weather, with all birds able to sit on the floor at the same time. (Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals, courtesy of The Animal Museum)