New poll finds 97 percent of Canadians support stronger Federal transport protections for farmed animals

Canada's Animal Transport Regulations Worst in the Western World, Causing Millions of Deaths Each Year; Mercy For Animals Calls On New Agriculture Minister MacAuley to Strengthen Regulations

TORONTO, March 17, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Due in large part to Canada's outdated livestock transport regulations, every year more than 8 million farmed animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead or so sick or injured they are declared unfit for human consumption. For nearly a decade, the former agriculture minister promised to update Canada's shameful transport regulations, which are the worst in the Western World. Now, a new national poll conducted by NRG Research Group shows the overwhelming majority of Canadians agree that at a minimum, animals should not be transported for longer than eight hours without food, water, and rest; animals should be protected from weather extremes; and companies that violate these basic standards should be severely penalized. Mercy For Animals is now calling on Minister of Agriculture MacAuley to take immediate action to update and strengthen Canada's outdated federal transport regulations.

The poll surveyed more than 1,000 people across Canada, 49 percent of whom consider themselves to have an agricultural background. The newly released results reveal the following:

  • Ninety-seven percent of Canadians surveyed believe the country's transport regulations must be updated to ensure farmed animals are transported in a safe and humane manner.
  • Ninety-five percent of Canadians surveyed believe that even if it costs more, it's important to ensure farmed animals are treated humanely.
  • Eighty-seven percent of Canadians surveyed support stronger penalties, such as stiff fines, if livestock companies violate regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals during transport.
  • Eighty-one percent of Canadians surveyed said humane transport is extremely or very important.
  • Seventy-one percent of Canadians surveyed believe Canada can establish transport regulations as strong as the European Union's.

Under the current laws, farmed animals can be transported for days without food or water. Transport trucks are not required to protect animals from severely inclement weather, resulting in the deaths of millions of animals from exposure to extreme temperatures. Additionally, lack of training and supervision results in the cruel beating and torturing of animals by workers during loading and unloading. Canada's transport laws lag far behind those of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Multiple Mercy For Animals investigations have documented firsthand the extreme misery and suffering endured by farmed animals during transport. An investigation of Western Hog Exchange in Alberta showed frightened animals transported hundreds of kilometres in sweltering heat, suffering from heat stress and dehydration, and workers using electric prods to repeatedly shock "downed" pigs who were too sick, diseased, or injured to climb steep ramps onto trailers.

Although former agriculture minister Gerry Ritz promised to update Canada's shameful transport regulations for more than a decade, his promises were empty. Mercy For Animals is optimistic Minister MacAulay will take seriously the will of the Canadian people, who are demanding an overhaul of Canada's outdated and meaningless transport regulations.

"Canadians are sick and tired of lagging behind the rest of the Western world when it comes to farmed animal welfare. Our outdated transport regulations cause horrific suffering to animals and are a national embarrassment and outrage," said Krista Hiddema, Mercy For Animals' managing director for Canada. "No animal deserves to be crushed to death in a crowded transport truck or to die from dehydration or exposure to blistering heat or freezing temperatures. We take so much from these animals and the least we owe them is basic humane treatment. The new administration should act quickly to put an end to the suffering of millions of animals. The time for action is now."

To view undercover video of the horrific cruelty endured by animals during transport, visit Transport.MercyForAnimals.org and MapleLodgeHarms.ca.

SOURCE Mercy for Animals

For further information: Krista Hiddema, 416-666-3093

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