Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals-Regulatory Amendment – Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties
16.0 Vessels

16.1 Regulatory Authority

Health of Animals Regulations: Sections 152 – 158, 159.2(3)-(4)

16.2 Required Outcomes

Animals transported by sea carrier are transported in accordance with all requirements of Part XII in addition to the unique requirements for the transportation of animals by sea. Every sea carrier transporting livestock or poultry by sea does so in a manner that does not lead to animal injury, suffering or death.

16.3 Guidance to Regulated Parties

Sea carriers are considered to be within the scope of commercial carriers, and as such are subject to many of the same general requirements found in Part XII.  However, due to the unique nature of sea travel, for example: prolonged journeys, specific hazards and limited access to standard goods and services etc.; Part XII contains sections that reflect such unique circumstances. The requirements may in some situations differ from those of land transport and in some cases may be additive to it.

In order to maximize animal welfare for those transported by sea, all persons involved directly or indirectly in and responsible for the transportation of animals by sea are required to ensure that animals are adequately prepared for the journey and cared for during a sea voyage by ensuring the sea carrier has:

  • environmental controls and/or protection to ensure appropriate temperature and humidity to ensure the animal's wellbeing during the entire transportation,
  • sufficient air volume and quality at all times during the transportation through adequate ventilation
  • facilities for feeding, watering and tending to animals such that every animals can be fed, watered and cared for adequately,
  • sufficient amount of feed and water for the animal(s) for the intended journey plus an additional 25% at a minimum (one extra day for every 4 days of journey) as per 159.2 (3) and (4),
  • adequate storage for feed to maintain quality and safe water,
  • sufficient lighting on the vessel to permit attendants to feed, water and care for the animals on board
  • sufficient space in the pens for the animals to rest comfortably (all lie down at the same time without being on top of one another)
  • an enclosed area or a pen on the vessel that can be used to accommodate an animal that becomes ill, injured, compromised, or sick to provide care,
  • portable lighting in order to permit close examination of an animal as needed, 
  • emergency lighting that is sufficient to permit the feeding, watering and care of animals in case the primary lighting system fails, and
  • protection from mechanical equipment area (e.g. engine or boiler) so as to prevent injury, suffering, or death of the animal from heat, vibration or excessive noise.

Prolonged Transport: Transportation by sea may last several weeks, during which there is no opportunity to unload the animals, or to access extra assistance, feed, water, or medical equipment or supplies. Extra precautions and careful planning are required to be prepared to face challenges during the transport. Small oversights may cause significant consequences to animal welfare.

Because of the unique nature of transport by sea and the likelihood of prolonged transport times and exposures to unique experiences, animals require additional protection from:

  • Water spray
  • Machinery exhaust, noise, heat or vibration that is likely to cause injury, suffering, or death which can be accomplished by insulating and housing animals away from these elements.
  • Inadequate supply of feed and water even in the case of unanticipated delays caused by rough waters, international trade barriers, movement restrictions, etc.  Sea carriers must factor the possibility of such delays in calculating feed and water requirements and should have an additional day of feed and water for every 4 days of planned journey time.
  • Prolonged suffering in the event of injury by having:
    • access to a veterinarian for advice
  • stockpersons trained to care for the animals
  • ample medical supplies and if suffering cannot be alleviated:
    • Humane killing devices and ammunition readily accessible and appropriate for the animal's age and weight. Killing devices are maintained as per manufacturer guidelines and back-up devices are readily accessible if needed.
    • Trained personnel to use device if an animal becomes injured or ill on the vessel and cannot be treated, or if the master or a veterinarian has reasonable grounds to believe that the continued transportation of the animal in question will cause suffering to it, the sea carrier is able to humanely kill the animal using generally accepted methods on the vessel without unnecessary delays.

Preparation of Animals: Prior to a prolonged sea voyage where animals are unloaded on the vessel: In order to reduce animal stress and suffering, sea carriers are advised to:

  • Have a clinical examination done of the animals to be transported within the 48 hours preceding loading to ensure they are in good health and in good body condition.
  • Ensure that young animals are weaned from the dam at least 14 days prior to loading, or be travelling with their dam.
  • Ensure animals are pre-conditioned (allowed to become familiar to their new surroundings and environment) during which they have a chance to become accustomed to the feed and watering system, and to the other animals intended to be transported together.
  • Provide close monitoring of the animals to ensure that they are adapting well. Those not adapting should not be shipped.

Attendants: Livestock or poultry are cared for by an adequate number of attendants or stockpersons for the animals being transported.  There should be a sufficient number of attendants to ensure that each animal is provided with the care it needs to ensure its welfare throughout the entire journey. The calculation is based on the type of feeding, watering and waste removal system on board (whether automated or not), and on the number and species of animals transported. Attendants have access to animals via passageways and have adequate lighting to observe the animals.

Before leaving the port: Notification to the Regulatory Authority of the Intended Transport by Sea:

In the case of sea voyages of 6 hours or more (this includes land transport conveyances that will be transported onto ferries for 6 hours or more); the following information for transport by sea (i.e. additional to the requirements of 159.4 (1)) must be provided to the veterinary inspector at least 24 hours prior to departure:

  1. planned date and time of departure;
  2. name of the person responsible to care for the livestock or poultry (in the case of a conveyance being transported by ferry for 6 hours or more, this would likely be the transporter).
  3. arrangements for communication between the sea carrier and the shipper that allow the stockperson to obtain veterinary advice at any time during transportation.
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