Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transportation of Animals-Regulatory Amendment – Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties
17.0 Feed, Water and Rest

17.1 Regulatory Authority

Health of Animals Regulations: Section 159, 159.1(1)-(4), 159.2(1)-(4)

17.2 Required Outcomes

Every person who transports an animal must be aware of the time the animals last had access to feed and water prior to loading in order to determine when the next provision of feed and water will be required.  Transported animals will be provided with access to feed, water and rest at intervals that are no longer than those set out in the regulations for the species, class and condition of the animal.  Rest periods, will be no less than eight consecutive hours.

In addition, regardless of the maximum intervals as mentioned above, if any animal becomes dehydrated, begins to suffer from nutritional deficiencies or becomes exhausted prior to the reaching the maximum feed, water and rest interval, it must be provided feed, and/or water and/or rest required before the journey can resume.  Intervals do not restart until the animal has been rested for at least 8 hours and has had full access to feed and water during that rest period.

17.3 Guidance to Regulated Parties

Each species and each class of animal has a unique physiology that dictates its feed and water requirements.  Additionally, the animal's health at the time of loading, the handling during loading, the weather, the distance, the load density and the compatibility of the animals within, the condition of the conveyance, the ventilation, the road conditions, driving style, etc. will all contribute to the animal's  experience and will directly or indirectly affect its hunger, thirst and fatigue.

Feed, water and rest intervals in the Regulations were determined based on available data, scientific findings and consultation with stakeholders and are a balance of all inputs.  They are intended for the average animal that is deemed to be fit for the intended journey and within the species and class listed, however, some animals may not be able to tolerate the entire proposed intervals thus requiring to be fed, watered and rested at more frequent intervals.  If animals are excessively thirsty, hungry or fatigued, prior to reaching the maximum proposed interval, the animal's needs must take precedence and the transporter must promptly take action.  It is important to note that even if feed, water or rest are provided to an animal to address its needs, that a new interval does not begin until the animal has full access to feed and water and been rested for a minimum of 8 hours.

Loads received near the maximum interval without feed, water and rest should be prioritized by the person or company accepting responsibility for the animals upon arrival.

Important:  Animal welfare takes precedence over the maximum time intervals in the regulation.

There is an outcome based component to feed, water and rest that must be considered in addition to the prescribed maximum intervals. Preventing an animal from suffering due to dehydration, fatigue, or nutritional deficiencies during transportation is equally as important as staying within the proposed maximum time limits.

Example: The proposed maximum time limit to transport adult, healthy, fit pigs without feed, water and rest is 28 hours from the time of feed and water withdrawal on farm until the pigs are next offered feed, water and rest. However, on a very hot and humid day, pigs may suffer from dehydration after as few as 6 hours of transportation which if feed and water are removed prior to loading, may be 10-12 hours from last access. The operator of the conveyance is responsible for taking measures such as providing water to the pigs even though the maximum allowable interval has yet to be reached. Should the operator of the conveyance ignore the needs of the animals and should the animals arrive at their final destination within the 28 hour time limit, but determined to be dehydrated, exhausted or suffering from nutritional deficiencies, the operator would be found non-compliant.

Transporters should monitor animals in the load frequently to identify and promptly address any conditions that may lead to animal suffering.

Table 1. Maximum intervals without feed, water, and rest for fit animals
Species and Class Maximum time interval (in hours) without feed, water, rest
Any compromised animal of any species, any size, any age, any sex, any breed


Livestock, cervids, and camelids that are 8 days of age or less, and ruminants that are too young to be fed exclusively on hay and grain


Broiler chickens


Spent laying hens








Day-old chicks (from the time of hatching)


All other animals


Important Note: The maximum intervals without access to feed, water and rest only apply to animals that are able to tolerate those intervals without becoming dehydrated, weakened from feed deprivation or exhausted during transport. In some instances intervals will need to be shorter to prevent nutritional abnormality, dehydration and exhaustion. In such cases, the animals must be provided feed, water and/or rest as required as per Section 159.1(1) prior to reaching the maximum intervals above.

Locations to provide feed, water and rest: Once the transporter determines that the animals must be fed, watered and rested, this can be done by unloading the animals at a suitable facility or on board a suitably equipped conveyance.  Such a facility or conveyance needs to have sufficient supplies of, and each animal access to, feed and water and must have sufficient space for all of the animals to lie down at the same time without affecting the welfare of other animals in doing so.  The conveyance or the facility must be well ventilated and must provide the animals an environment that will keep them clean and dry and must be well bedded and must have secure footing.

Feed and water for sea transport: During transport by sea, animals must have access to feed and water, and are never to exceed the posted maximum intervals, even in the case of unanticipated delays (e.g. rough waters, international trade barriers, movement restrictions, etc.).  Sea carriers must consider the possibility of such delays in calculating feed and water requirements and must have an additional day of feed and water for every 4 days of planned journey time.  See Vessels section for more information.

CFIA Discretion: If a regulated party informs CFIA of a transportation delay where the maximum feed, water and rest interval would be exceeded due to unforeseen circumstances which are deemed to be out of the regulated party's control, CFIA may evaluate the situation and use discretion in taking enforcement action under the following conditions:

  1. The incident is a rare occurrence,
  2. The incident is unforeseen and out of the regulated party's control
  3. The incident is deemed reasonable by CFIA under the circumstances
  4. The incident results in the only contravention that requires enforcement action (i.e. no other sections of the HAR were violated and animals are not suffering from nutritional deficiency, dehydration or exhaustion)
  5. The regulated party provides evidence that measures have been taken to minimize animal suffering caused by the delay.

In these infrequent situations it is unlikely that a notice of violation would be issued, solely based on exceeding the maximum FWR time interval.

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