Humane Handling and Slaughter of Food Animals in Canada

The humane handling and slaughter of food animals in Canada is a shared responsibility of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), industry, stakeholders, transporters, operators and every person who handles live animals.

Canadian law requires that all federally registered slaughter establishments ensure that all species of food animals are handled and slaughtered humanely. The CFIA verifies that federal slaughter establishments are compliant with the Meat Inspection Regulations.

The CFIA's humane slaughter requirements take effect when the animals arrive at the federally registered slaughter establishment. Industry is required to comply with the Meat Inspection Regulations for all animals under their care.

Sections 61 to 80 of the Meat Inspection Regulations define the conditions for the humane slaughter of all species of food animals in federally registered establishments. Some of the provisions contained in the regulations include

  • guidelines and procedures for the proper unloading, holding and movement of animals in slaughter facilities;
  • requirements for the segregation and handling of sick or injured animals; and
  • requirements for the humane slaughter of food animals.

In cases of non-compliance with the Meat Inspection Regulations, the CFIA can take a number of corrective actions, such as those outlined in Chapter 14 and 18 of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures.

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