"It's my role to report. It's your role to press for reforms"
Friday, March 17, 2017
Lobbying weakens transportation welfare
federal government watered down its proposals for improving animal
and poultry welfare during transportation, the Globe and Mail reports
today based on documents an animal welfare organization obtained via
Access to Information.
the case of day-old chicks, for example, the CFIA’s 2013 plan
proposed a maximum of 24 hours in transport. By the time the proposal
was published in December in the Canada Gazette, the federal
government’s official newspaper, that had been changed to 72 hours.
the case of cattle, 28 hours had become 36 hours.
with spent hens the limit had doubled to 24 hours from 12..
animal transport rules have not been updated since 1977 and,
depending on the species, currently allow for transport times of 18
to 72 hours.
the maximum is reached, the animals must be given a rest period with
feed and water.
only allows most animals to be transported for a maximum of eight
hours. In New Zealand and Australia, the limits generally fall
between 12 and 24 hours. The rules in the United States, which have
been subject to criticism from animal-rights groups, allow transport
up to 28 hours.
CFIA’s briefing notes and in correspondence among staff, agency
officials acknowledge that shorter transport times – generally
between eight and 12 hours – are ideal.
research supports the lowest possible” time
limit before feeding, watering and resting, according to
one briefing note.
discusses a 12-hour maximum as “supported by science.” Meanwhile,
research papers cited in the briefings describe “increased stress”
and “behavioural changes” associated with longer transport times.
throughout, CFIA employees describe industry push-back. In a document
from July, 2015, staffers say one unidentified group “continues to
voice strong opposition” to reduced transport times, citing
“significant negative economic impact.” Another document outlines
how an unidentified group warned that reduced transport times “would
result in cessation” of an industry.
an e-mailed statement, a CFIA spokesperson said the 2016 proposal
still represents a significant improvement over current rules and
added that the matter is subject to further changes.
the proposed amendments, the maximum times permitted for animals to
go without food, water and rest are being reduced for most species,
in line with scientific research,” the statement said. “The CFIA
readjusted the proposed maximum time intervals for animal welfare to
improve the transportation times; address public concern; and, better
align Canada with major trading partners and international
critics say the agency is prioritizing industry over animal welfare.
“On a balance, they hear from animal people, they get letters from
public citizens. But who they really listen to is industry,” said
Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals director Stephanie Brown.
the 951 groups consulted by the CFIA, only 12 were animal welfare
groups. The agency said it reached out to the “major animal
protection organizations of which we are aware.”
Harper, who retired in 2011 after more than 30 years as a CFIA
veterinarian, said the current proposal “falls far short” of
expectations. In 2003, Ms. Harper served as the acting program
officer in charge of the CFIA’s animal transport program in
the tail wagging the dog,” she said. “This is what industry