Frightened, stressed, pigs in a crowded tranpsort photographed through a vent 2012

Frightened, stressed; pigs in a crowded transport truck photographed through a vent 2012
Photo Credit: Jo Anne McArthur- We Animals.org

Commercial animal transport laws: Still not humane says Animal Justice

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Animal rights activists have long decried the conditions for transporting farm animals to slaughterhouses in Canada.

There are long distances to travel and often harsh physical conditions of extreme cold or heat, and overcrowding. The animals are subjected to what the activists say is a highly stressful situation such that some of the animals die en route.

The federal government is proposing new regulations, but concerned groups say they new proposals don’t go far enough, and are still allow the worst transport conditions in the developed world.

Anna Pippus (J.D) is director of Farmed Animal Advocacy at the non-profit Animal Justice

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Anna Pippus (J.D.) is a lawyer and director of Farmed Animal Advocacy at the non-profit Animal Justice
Anna Pippus (J.D.) is a lawyer and director of Farmed Animal Advocacy at the non-profit Animal Justice © supplied

What Animal Justice and others are concerned about are such things as transport times, the conditions, overcrowding, and use of electric prods.

The current Canadian rules state for example that cattle can be onboard the trucks and transported for up to 52 hours without food or water or rest; pigs up to 36 hours. While there are also industry recommendations regarding overcrowding of animals into the trucks, there is no oversight.

Proposed changes would mean cattle can be transported for 36 hours, pigs 28 hours, and chickens and other fowl, 24 hours without food water or rest.

Thousands of broiler chickens arriving at a slaughterhouse in Canada, 2013. Birds are even more susceptible to conditions of cold and heat and many are dead on arrival.
Thousands of broiler chickens arriving at a slaughterhouse in Canada, 2013. Birds are even more susceptible to conditions of cold and heat and many are dead on arrival. © weanimals.org

As transport can take place in winter, some animals suffer frostbite in the open trucks, and in summer, many suffer from overheating and extreme thirst.

Typical pig transport truck Canada, 2012
Typical pig transport truck Canada, 2012. Overcrowding and hours even days exposed to heat or cold with no water or food. © weanimals.org

Animal Justice estimated that up to two million animals die in transport each year.

Animal Justice made presentations to the previous government with virtually no response. Pippus says the current Liberal government under Justin Trudeau, has also not shown interest in the expert recommendations from the group.

Anita Krajnc gives pigs water near a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont. in June. In November, she pleaded guilty to mischeif.
Anita Krajnc gives pigs water near a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont. in June. In November, she pleaded guilty to mischeif. © Elli Garlin

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Anita arrested a second time for obstructing traffic during a small protest at the site of a truck rollover near a Burlington Ontario slaughterhouse which resulted in the death of several dozen pigs. The driver was charged with careless driving
In October, before trial for her first charge, Anita Krajnc arrested a second time for obstructing traffic during a small protest at the site of a truck rollover near a Burlington Ontario slaughterhouse which resulted in the death of several dozen pigs. The driver was charged with careless driving. © via CBC

Australia and the United States, where distances can also be vast, both have stricter rules than even the new Canadian proposals, although jamming animals into the trucks also seems to be current there as well.

Cow inside a transport 2013. Rights groups are concerned that new proposals for more humane transport still lag for behind other developed countries
Cow inside a transport 2013. Rights groups are concerned that new proposals for more humane transport still lag for behind other developed countries © weanimals.org

In Europe the rules are stricter still with a limit of only 8 hours in transit without food water or rest, as well as specific loading density of animals into the trucks.

Ciara Birley faced an impeding traffic charge related to giving water to pigs outside a slaughterhouse. She was inspired by Anita Krajnc, a Toronto woman facing mischief charges in Burlington court for a similar action. Birley’s judge dismissed her case.
In the U.S. Ciara Birley faced an impeding traffic charge related to giving water to pigs outside a slaughterhouse. She was inspired by Anita Krajnc, a Toronto woman facing mischief charges in Burlington court for a similar action. Birley’s judge dismissed her case on the first day. © Smithfield Pig Save

Pippus says it will now take public pressure to convince politicians to upgrade the laws which in spite of the new proposals for animal transport are still the worst in the developed world.

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3 comments on “Commercial animal transport laws: Still not humane says Animal Justice
  1. Avatar Pat P. says:

    Although I know that the U.S. shamefully tolerates/enables horrific cruelty, Canada can have no special claim to compassionate, empathetic ethical animal treatment, despite the lead of “liberal” PM, Justin Trudeau.

    As RICHELLE B. indicated in her post, below, (with some reprehensible examples), you are a nation that should be condemned for shocking and disgraceful animal cruelty.

    Why isn’t the administration of your “progressive” PM preventing these horrors?! As with most politicians of any party, could it be that money is his god, too (further evidenced by a push for filthy tar sands pipelines)?!

    It is deplorable and inexcusable for ANY country to treat precious domestic and wild creatures with such disrespect, depravity and heartlessness! Pigs are mistreated with appalling sadistic cruelty. Activists are arrested for attempts to alleviate the suffering of these terrified intelligent social creatures–merely administering sips of water!

    Despite the updated rule change, Canadian standards are still lower than the abysmally low ones of the U.S., Australia and the rest of the developed world!

    Where is the humaneness of Canada?! Are these the actions of a civilized society?!

  2. Avatar Ursula Wagner says:

    There is a very simple solution to it, and on top it is best for
    our health and our environment.

    If you don`t want to stop eating meat, at least reduce the amount you eat, or even better, buy your meat from organic farmers.

  3. Avatar Richelle Bee says:

    Canadians like to think we are compassionate animal lovers. The commercialseal hunt, aquariums, trophy hunting, Calgary Stampede and other rodeos, leg hold trapping, lab testing, fur farms, and archaic transport laws and slaughterhouses tell a very different story. We are a nation that condones and celebrates the abject abuse of some animals. What a disgrace.