Monday, September 5, 2016

Canada. End the maltreatment of horses shipped live to Japan and update antiquated transport regulations!

From dr. Judith Samson-French
and dr. Maureen Harper,

Help end the maltreatment of horses shipped live to Japan; address other antiquated transport regulations in Canada

Prime Minister of Canada justin Trudeau,
Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A2.
Minister of Health,
Minister of Agriculture,
Minister of Transport,
CFIA president.

Dear Prime Minister, Ministers, Madam, Sir:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

The intent of this letter is to bring to your attention the fact that millions of animals in this country are suffering needlessly due to antiquated and woefully inadequate federal animal transport regulations and the flagrant lack of enforcement of the regulations currently in place as exemplified by the live shipping of horses to Japan from Calgary International Airport.

The current weekly shipments of approximately 90 large draft horses from YYC to Japan by air for slaughter purposes, is sadly a stellar example of the current regulations not properly being enforced. These large horses, many weighing almost a ton, are being shipped three or four to a crate unsegregated, despite the fact that the current Health of Animals Regulations stipulate that horses over 14 hands (4 feet, 8 inches) shall be segregated (article 141(8)) of the Health of Animals Animal Transport Regulations, Part XII. Further, the shipping crates are not built high enough to allow many of the larger horses to stand in a natural position without their heads coming into contact with the roof of the crates. This is in direct violation to article 142(a) of the Health of Animals Animal Transport Regulations. This lack of adequate space and lack of segregation have led to numerous documented deaths and injuries of horses, which is simply unacceptable.

There are many scientific studies that point to the fact that Canada’s animal transport regulations are inhumane and are causing undue, needless suffering in the form of dehydration, injuries and death of millions of our animals.

In the larger context of livestock transportation, ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) can legally be transported for 52 hours without food, water and rest. And horses, pigs and poultry can be transported for 36 hours without food, water and rest. Being transported without water and rest for such prolonged periods can result in severe dehydration and fatigue and is easily considered maltreatment of our animals.
Let’s not forget when horses cross the borders, the clock is reset at zero. This means they can travel for 36 hours plus 28 hours with enforced starvation, dehydration and extreme confinement.

Canada lags far behind other western nations with respect to allowed transport times. In Europe, for example, the maximum allowed time is 8 hours and in the US it is 28 hours.

The current animal transport regulations compromise the welfare of animals in two ways. One, they allow for animals to be transported without clearly prescribed minimum space allowances. This is leading to far too many cases of overcrowding which is causing many animals to be needlessly injured and killed.

And two, animals are transported unprotected from the elements and extreme temperatures. As a result, in Canada, our animals are being severely compromised and dying due to exposure to extreme heat and cold temperatures. In contrast, in Europe, it is mandated that the temperature inside an animal transport vehicle cannot drop below 0 degrees Celsius or exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

As private citizens, we are very much concerned about the welfare of animals in Canada. The current federal animal transport regulations are worrisome on three levels. One, they were put in place in the 1970s and have not been updated since then to reflect current scientific knowledge and basic animal welfare concerns. Two, there are far too many examples of the current regulations which are already not restrictive enough, not being enforced. And three, penalties for infractions of the regulations are not severe enough in my view.

We call upon your assistance, Mr. Trudeau, to help put an end to this maltreatment of our livestock. Secondly, we are asking for your urgent intervention to ensure that the CFIA promptly updates the current Health of Animals Animal Transport Regulations to reflect the knowledge that numerous current studies have provided and to bring Canada in line with other western nations. And thirdly but not least, we also are asking for your commitment to ensure that all regulations are properly enforced. As such, we are also requesting an immediate moratorium on shipping live horses from Canada to Japan for slaughter in light of the many documented infractions of transport regulations not being upheld despite the supervision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

We look forward to your response to this urgent matter.


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