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CVMA Welcomes Humane Transportation Amendments with Some Reservations

March 5, 2019

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations (Part XII) on animal transportation on February 20, 2019. Read more.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association welcomed some of the positive revisions and additions to reduce some of the welfare risks when animals are transported. The association acknowledges the complexity of the topic, but feels that with more discussion some sections of the regulations could have been improved. 

Although it is claimed that the regulations were informed by current science, the intervals for feed, water and rest appear to have been influenced mainly by current industry practice. In principle, the mixed approach of basing the regulations primarily on specific outcomes and where necessary the inclusion of prescriptive specifications on how the animals should be transported is a good approach. 

However, we have a number of reservations on how effective this approach will be in offering sufficient protection to animals during transportation. The outcomes that will need to be avoided to maintain compliance with the regulations are either those associated with severe conditions or those that cannot be measured empirically. 

We consider that an opportunity to provide effective protection of animals from environmental extremes that place animals at risk of hyperthermia and hypothermia during transportation has been missed. The regulations on compromised animals will place some animals at risk of suffering.

CVMA will continue to encourage the federal government to dedicate the necessary resources for enforcement, training and research in order to implement and sustain the new Regulations so as to achieve the desired Canadian animal welfare outcomes.