Advocate calls for more humane livestock transportation in Canada

Mar 17, 2016 | News

Samantha Singh

An animals rights group is calling on the federal minister of agriculture to have Canada mirror the same livestock transportation conditions as the European Union.

“In Canada, livestock transportation falls grossly behind every other G7 country,” Canadian Mercy for Animals director, Krista Hiddema told Humber News.

Hiddema said in 2015 alone, there were almost 10 million animals that arrived to federal slaughter houses either dead on arrival or condemned to die.

“That means that those animals were too sick or injured as a result of transportation and they could not become a part of the food supply chain and were put to death.”

Mercy for Animals commissioned a study that found that 97 per cent of Canadians agree that farmed animals must be transported in a safe and humane manner.

Current conditions under section 148 of the Health of Animals Regulations allow, horses, pigs, and other animals can be transported for up to 36 hours without access to food, water, or rest.

For cattle, sheep, goats, and other ruminants, the maximum is 52 hours.

Chicks may be deprived of food and water for up to 72 hours after hatching.

Section 149 allows calves to be deprived of food and water for up to 18 hours.

The study for Mercy for Animals was conducted by NRG Group out of Manitoba, surveying 1,002 participants and was published last fall.

“We are calling now on the new federal minister of agriculture, Minister Lawrence MacAulay to finally do what Mr. Ritz failed to do,” said Hiddema, referring to Gerry Ritz, the former federal minister of agriculture.

In 2010 Ritz said,“the agriculture industry knows that a healthy farm and processing business begins with healthy animals and while the majority handles and transports animals safely, a few need to do better.”

Mercy for Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a facility in Alberta called Western Hog Exchange which found inhumane treatment of pigs.

The undercover video reveals pigs who died from stress, dehydration, and severe injuries during transport.

As well as sick and injured animals repeatedly kicked, violently beaten, dragged, and left without veterinary care.

Hiddema is asking Canadians to sign a petition to change the conditions for transportation of livestock, “to ensure that this new Liberal government finally does what the Conservative government has failed to do for the last decade.”