TORONTO, Jan. 3, 2018 /CNW/ - Environment Canada has issued "extreme weather alerts" in recent days for much of Canada as temperatures plummeted. Yet according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Cold Weather Notice: Humane Transport and Animal Welfare, there is no specified temperature below which animals may not be transported. The approach is the same in the Recommended code of practice for the care and handling of farm animals: Transportation. These are "guidance"-only documents.
"The CFIA and the Minister of Agriculture have little control of industry actions," said Liz White, Leader, Animal Protection Party of Canada (APPC). "The CFIA uses risk-based assessment of animal deaths from exposure after they arrive at the slaughter plant. The suffering of these animals has already occurred. The CFIA does not prevent the cruelty but assesses it after the fact."
"Chickens are particularly at risk from freezing to death," said Stephanie Brown, Director, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA). "Spent (end-of-lay) hens cannot protect themselves because of their depleted body condition and absence of feathers. Trucks carry 10,000 birds in all kinds of weather and large numbers die from exposure. The suffering is enormous."
"Industry guidelines suggest 'spent' hens should travel in temperatures ranging from 13 degrees C to 30 degrees C but they are just guidelines, not regulations, and they are not enforced," said Brown. "CFIA's infrequent highway inspections of animal transport vehicles are totally inadequate. An ATIP request revealed the CFIA conducted only 58 highway inspections across Canada during a 530-day period."
"Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay should immediately issue a No Animal Transport Alert for animals being shipped during extreme weather," said Brown. "Regulations, not guidelines, are needed to ensure compliance."
"In our view, the Minister of Agriculture and the Trudeau government have an inappropriately tight relationship with industry," continued White. "Instead of acting in the best interest of the animals, the Minister and the government listen to industry interests. Why should any animal have to suffer and freeze to death? So far there are no answers," she said.
The CCFA and APPC call upon the Minister to issue a No Transport Alert during these extreme cold weather events, and establish temperatures (cold and hot) where transport will not be allowed below and above specified temperatures.
SOURCE Animal Protection Party of Canada