Don't Allow Industry to Dictate Animal Transport Enforcement

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On December 13th, Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canadian cattle and dairy producers will be given a "two-year transition period" before enforcement will begin for the amended Humane Transportation of Animals regulations, even though they were scheduled to come into force February, 2020. The minister also hinted that the regulations covering cattle may be weakened in the process as "more data on effective solutions concerning the transport of cattle" are gathered (specifically, from research conducted by the Beef Cattle Research Council).

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association has been hounding the minister since the regulations were released, most recently at an hour-long meeting during her visit to Canadian Western Agribition just a week before her announcement.

Canada has the dubious honour of having the longest maximum transport times in the developed world. Under the new rules, which took an astounding 42 years to draft, cows can be transported for 36 hours, down only slightly from 48 hours under the previous regulations. In the United States, the maximum transport time for cattle is 28 hours, and in the European Union it is just eight hours, yet the 36 hours is what the cattle producers are taking issue with.

The new regulations took years to draft and release and yet already fail to meet international standards. In fact, in a review of Canada's veterinary services (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in particular) released by The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)  last year, the authors expressed surprise that “[s]ome politically powerful lobby groups are able to modify technical decisions” (specifically noting industry interference on maximum transport times) and warned that the new regulations must be finalized and enacted independent of industry.

The federal government has a responsibility to protect Canada's farmed animals,  not pander to industry demands.