Canadian farm animals involved in transport accidents need more protection
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The tragic crash of a 3-layer transport trailer carrying 239 pigs near Keremeos, British Columbia (BC) on January 4, 2019 clearly shows that there is a great need for a mandatory emergency response plan to help injured and dying farm animals who are victims of transport truck road accidents. Seventy pigs perished with 60 of them dying of suffocation.
The accident took place at 1 a.m. when the truck with trailer was travelling from Taber, Alberta to a Langley, BC slaughterhouse, a 1200 km trip. Police were on scene until 9 a.m. that morning and three pigs had to be immediately euthanized. “While dozens of pigs which survived were placed in a nearby field, at least six pigs could be seen lying very still in the second storey of the trailer. It’s unclear if they were dead. Numerous pigs that were in the top level of the trailer were seen scattered onto the hill beside the crash scene, some still twitching, others lying piled up and not moving.” One pig was reported to be “still twitching in distress in the back of this transport trailer 14 hours after it flipped”. (https://globalnews.ca/news/4817355/pigs-dead-dying-and-distressed-after-bc-highway-crash/)
After the crash, the truck driver said that only three of them were there and that they worked as hard as they could to get as many pigs out as possible. “I couldn’t get anybody out here because otherwise I would have got somebody to put them down earlier.” (https://globalnews.ca/news/4819361/bc-pigs-crash-truck-driver/)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the welfare of animals during transport, as specified in the requirements of the Health of Animal Regulations, which governs the humane transportation of animals in Canada. However, there is no mention of how to humanely care for injured and dying animals in a transport vehicle accident within these requirements (Transportation of Animals Program (https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._296/page-16.html#h-70)
We, the undersigned, call on Cornelius F. Kiley, National Manager of Animal Welfare, Biosecurity and Assurance Programs, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada to:
1) Develop an Emergency Response Plan that will include an emergency number that when contacted will cause the activation of the necessary resources, including veterinarians and emergency vehicles, to properly care for injured and dying farm animals that are being transported and involved in a transport vehicle accident;
2) Enforce by law, the requirements that (i) truck drivers who transport farm animals are made aware of the Emergency Response Plan as described in 1) and (ii) implement this Emergency Response Plan immediately following a vehicle accident; and
3) Ensure that if such an Emergency Response Plan as described in 1) exists, then an investigation of the crash near Keremeos, BC on January 4, 2019 take place to find the party(ies) responsible for the prolonged suffering of the pigs.
Please note: The Keremeos RCMP requests that anyone with information regarding this collision contact them at 250-499-5511, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. (https://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/246066/Many-pigs-dead-on-highway?fbclid=IwAR3Xlb4qKfcQxdQYXt2TWY0yycp8vBs3RWJvHGn249iajZvrOzAho1KeLXo)
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