Disappointed by the New Animal Transport Regulations, the Montreal SPCA Asks the Public to Put the Brakes on Animal Suffering

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Montreal, January 24th 2017 – The Canadian government recently published its proposed amendments to the legislation governing the treatment of farm animals during transport. Despite years of pressure from animal protection organizations to bring our legislation in line with internationally recognized standards, the proposed amendments fail to protect animals from severe suffering due to long distance transport, extreme weather conditions, and the use of inhumane handling techniques.

Annually across Canada, 700 million farm animals are transported from farms to auction and slaughter. Nearly two million of those animals die during the transport process, and an estimated 12 million more are injured or become ill. Canada’s current regulations are over 40 years old and are considered by experts to be the worst in the Western world. Yet the federal government’s proposed updates to the regulations fail to improve animal welfare in any meaningful way by continuing to permit:

  • Transport times of up to 36 hours without access to food, water, or rest. The proposed maximum transport times ignore what has been identified by scientific research as acceptable in terms of animal welfare and are well in excess of international standards, subjecting animals to dehydration and exhaustion.
  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions. Though this is now standard in Europe, the draft regulations do not require transport vehicles to be climate controlled or equipped with any kind of temperature monitoring system, thus failing to protect animals from freezing in the winter and heatstroke in the summer.
  • Use of inhumane handling techniques. The amendments continue to allow electric prods to be used routinely, even on compromised animals, and allow animals to be painfully lifted by their legs, head, and horns.

The draft regulations must first go through a public comment period, which ends on February 15th, before being adopted. The Montreal SPCA, in partnership with the British Columbia SPCA, is inviting citizens to visit www.humanetransport.ca in order to express their concerns over the proposed amendments and demand better protection for farm animals.

“Given that the regulations governing animal transport have not been updated in over 40 years and that one of the purported goals of these amendments is to bring our legislation in line with international standards, we are deeply disappointed by the inadequacy of the proposed reform, which would continue to allow severe suffering during transport” explains Sophie Gaillard, lawyer for the animal advocacy department of the Montreal SPCA. “We urge Canadians to mobilize by visiting www.humanetransport.ca and sharing our video in order to send a clear message to the government that these new regulations simply aren’t good enough.”

To learn more about the Montreal SPCA’s position on farm animal welfare, please consult our official policies.


Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Communications Manager, Montreal SPCA, 514 656-2760, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA
Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first animal welfare society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

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