Transport code of practice in works

The code will cover cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and equine for road transportation and should be completed by 2023


By Barbara Duckworth, The Western Producer (Canada)

January 3, 2019


New regulations and a code of practice for livestock transportation are coming.


The scope of the code of practice covers cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep and equine for road transportation, said Jackie Wepruk of the National Farm Animal Care Council.


“We need to make sure the codes are in line with regulatory expectations. It is very important to have the Canadian Food Inspection Agency included in this update,” she said at a recent animal welfare meet hosted by the North American Meat Institute.


The work should start next spring for completion by 2023. It involves a number of stakeholders who must pay attention to what is practical and what the science says about animal welfare, cleanliness, sanitation, driving practices and species specific vulnerabilities.


The science committee work is done and examined the effect of transport duration, time off feed and water, rest intervals, environmental conditions, loading density and factors related to animal welfare.


Agriculture Canada researcher Karen Swartzkopf-Genswein has led many transportation trials to understand what is happening to animals in transit.


“It is probably one of the most stressful events in an animal’s life,” she said in a webinar last fall hosted by the Beef Cattle Research Council.


Animals may never have been on a livestock trailer and they become stressed as they are loaded and unloaded. They may have travelled a long distance to an auction, they are mixed with unfamiliar cattle, feed and water was restricted and injuries may have happened.


The new government regulations may include shorter duration trips with breaks for rest, feed and water.


“The shorter duration will depend on the type of animal and the conditions of transport,” she said.


Animals transported short distances can also suffer and show physiological effects.


“We really need to do the studies to show what is the best rest period or is it causing more stress than actually leaving them on the trailer. That is something we need to find out,” she said.


Research has looked at everything from the conditions of trailers, the effects of weather and the impacts on animal health.


It is known animals lose weight during transit and when they arrive at the final destination, they are tired.


“It is a feat to maintain balance even for a short period of time so imagine those animals in a trailer over a 10 to 30 hour trip and the energy it takes to keep their balance the entire time,” she said.


Weight loss, or shrink, is correlated with ambient outside temperature and time on the truck.


At 15 C, shrink starts to increase rapidly. For every 1 C rise in ambient outside temperature...


Cows at auction ...


Problems at the plant ...


Compromised animals ...


Definition of unfit ...