Humane Transportation of Animals: Information for the General Public

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The transportation of animals is regulated to prevent injury or suffering of all animals. All those involved in transporting or causing animals to be transported, must ensure that every animal being loaded is fit for the trip and treated humanely.

Which laws govern the humane transportation of animals?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), with the help of other federal, provincial and territorial authorities, enforces the requirements for the transport of animals into, within, and leaving Canada.

Provincial/Territorial governments have the regulatory authority over the on-farm care and treatment of animals in Canada.

The federal government is responsible for regulating the humane transport of animals under Part XII - Transportation of Animals of the Health of Animals Regulations which defines the conditions for humanely transporting all animals in Canada by all modes of transport.

The regulations prohibit the:

  • overcrowding of animals;
  • transporting of animals that are unfit for transport;
  • loading, transporting or unloading of animals in a way that could cause injury or suffering.

The regulations also establish the requirements for:

  • providing food, water, and rest at specific intervals;
  • protecting animals from adverse weather;
  • providing adequate ventilation;
  • using proper containers and transport vehicles; and
  • segregating incompatible animals.

Officials of the CFIA monitor compliance with the regulations by:

  • conducting routine inspection at strategic locations, such as at points of entry to Canada, and at registered establishments, auction markets, assembly yards and roadside blitzes; and
  • following up on reports of non-compliance.

Do the regulations include all aspects of transportation?

The Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII - Transportation of Animals

  • come into effect when the first animal is loaded for transport;
  • continue throughout its time in transit; and
  • end when the last animal is unloaded from the conveyance or crate.

If the animal is unloaded at a federally inspected slaughter establishment, the CFIA's oversight includes its humane handling and slaughter under the Meat Inspection Act and the Meat Inspection Regulations.

Attention: What you can do

If you believe you have witnessed someone who is not following the regulations regarding loading, transporting and unloading animals (such as rough handling, inadequate weather protection, or overcrowding), do the following:

  • gather as many details as possible (e.g., date, time, location, licence plate number)
  • report this information to the CFIA as soon as possible

What else does the Canadian Food Inspection Agency do to protect farm animals?

The CFIA works closely with the provinces, territories and all stakeholders in the animal care community when animal welfare issues are identified.

The CFIA's Transportation of Animals Program establishes the requirements for the protection of all species of animals during transportation.

CFIA inspectors verify that humane slaughter requirements are respected in all federally registered establishments.

Additional resources

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