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Livestock transport in Canada

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

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Are you sure that animal is fit for the trip?

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Responsibilities

The requirements for the transport of all animals into, within and out of Canada are found in Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations.

All those involved in transporting animals either directly or indirectly have the responsibility to assess animals for fitness, then select, prepare and load only animals that are fit for the intended journey.

If you are responsible for activities related to the loading, unloading or transporting of animals, you must be familiar with – and follow – Canada's transport of animals regulations.

Enforcement actions are proportional to the animal welfare situation and the seriousness of the non-compliance and can include notices (verbal or written) and penalties (monetary or non-monetary).

Assess before loading animals: Preparation for transport

Only animals that are fit to handle transport may be loaded. If you are not sure, refer to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) species specific codes of practice or seek the advice of a professional before deciding to load an animal.

Animals must not be transported unless they are fit enough to withstand the entire journey without suffering pain or distress that is caused by, or made worse by, the transport process.

Fit for transport

Animals are fit for transport when there are no signs of illness or poor health. This means:

a fit cow as an example of a fit animal

Check animals before transport

PDF (167 kb)

Check animals before transport brochure image. description follows
Text version

Check animals before transport

Scenario 1 - If your animal is unfit:

  • It must be isolated in transport, loaded alone without negotiating ramps
  • Measures must be taken to prevent unnecessary suffering and must not go to an assembly centre or an abattoir
  • Under the advice of a veterinarian and to receive veterinary care only

Scenario 2 - If your animal is compromised:

  • It must be isolated in transport, loaded alone without negotiating ramps
  • Measures must be taken to prevent unnecessary suffering and the animal must not go to an assembly centre
  • Seek nearest place the animal can receive care or be humanely killed

Scenario 3 – En route, if you suspect your animal is compromised or unfit:

  • When monitoring the animal en route and it seems OK, continue transport but if the animal seems to be compromised or unfit, options are to humanely kill on truck or to seek the nearest place (including an assembly yard) where the animal can receive care or be humanely killed.

Unfit animals: Do not transport

stop sign

Animals that are unfit must not be transported except to receive veterinary care on the advice of a veterinarian.

Options for unfit animals include:

An animal is unfit for transport if it:

an example of a sick or dying sheep lying down
an example of a goat with signs of a broken leg
an example of a very thin horse showing its ribcage
an example of a sheep having difficulty breathing
an example of a cow with a cancerous eye and an inflamed udder
an example of a cow with signs of swelling and bloating
an example of a pig with a hernia

Compromised animals: transport only with special provisions

Important!

Compromised animals do not handle the stress of transportation well.

Take steps to prevent additional injury or suffering caused by transportation. Transporting a compromised animal without meeting the regulatory requirements violates Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations. For example:

An animal is considered compromised if it:

Regulatory requirements for compromised animals include:

Examples of measures to care for compromised animals during transport can include:

An animal that becomes unfit or compromised during transport:

Contact your veterinarian, dispatch or the slaughter facility you are transporting to if you are not sure of the special provisions needed to move a compromised animal.

General requirements for the transport of animals

To help protect animals during transport, requirements include:

Configuration of suitable loading facility (for example, side rails, ramp, no gap).
An example of a container with poultry inside to demonstrate proper loading density.
Proper loading density
An example of a container with poultry inside to demonstrate it is too crowded.
Too crowded

Help

If you are not sure an animal is fit for the trip, contact your veterinarian or a transport specialist, or refer to the NFACC codes of practice.

Visit humane transport and animal welfare or contact your nearest CFIA Area office for more information.

Note

This information is provided for information purposes. The user should consult the applicable legislation. In the event of any discrepancy between the Health of Animals Regulations and the Livestock Transport in Canada Brochure, the Health of Animals Regulations shall prevail.

Checklist for animal transport

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