Farmed animals are among the most directly impacted by human activity, with more than 800 million land animals raised and killed for food every year in Canada. Transportation is one of the most stressful activities for farmed animals. Every year in Canada, approximately 14 million animals suffer injuries and 1.6 million die during transport journeys that are often long-distance and in extreme weather conditions.
In February 2019, the federal government announced updates to the farmed animal transport regulations, set to come into force a year later in February 2020. Unfortunately, the new regulations were hardly an improvement on the previous ones that had been in place since 1977. For example, only minor amendments were made to the food, water and rest (FWR) intervals for animals during transport.
Also concerning was the announcement that there would be a two-year delay (until February 2022) for full enforcement of the updated FWR intervals, including issuing large-scale fines, which is known to be the most effective form of enforcement when it comes to changing the actions of companies. This decision was intended to give the industry more time to adjust the shorter FWR intervals and to implement changes to infrastructure and marketing practices needed to meet the requirements. During this time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) took a soft approach, focusing on educating people about the new requirements.
As the deadline for this two-year delay in full enforcement approaches, it is possible that further delays are being considered. Please join the VHS and other animal protection organizations and advocates in calling on the federal government to prioritize full enforcement of the farmed animal transport rules.
Please tell the Minister of Agriculture; the Minister of Health; and the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to fully enforce the Transport of Animals regulations, including issuing appropriately sized fines.