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Transporting Livestock into the US from Canada

by 5m Editor
16 September 2001, at 12:00am

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs - Border checks have been stepped up at the US - Canada borders which may lead to delays. This can cause health problems for animal in transportation. This information sheet provides livestock exporters and truckers with lists of risk factors, responsibilities and procedures to ensure the safe and humane transportation of animals.


Transport of Livestock to the United States
Source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
Sept. 17, 2001

Ontario Pork Logo
Introduction
Shipments of livestock from Ontario into the U.S. may be delayed at border crossings due to increased inspection procedures by customs officials. Delays may affect the health of livestock in transit.

When possible, postpone shipments of livestock to the United States during periods of lengthy border delays. If it is necessary to ship livestock at this time, check with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for border delay information (1-800-268-4686 or (416) 235-4686.

This information sheet provides livestock exporters and truckers with lists of risk factors, responsibilities and procedures to ensure the safe and humane transportation of animals.

Risk Factors
The following factors have been found to increase the risk for livestock and poultry in transit:
  1. unplanned delays;
  2. adverse weather conditions, high temperatures;
  3. age and health status of livestock and poultry being shipped;
  4. distance and time in transit (refer to table below for details).
Recommended Maximum Transport Times and Minimum
Feed, Water and Rest Times**

Species/Class

Maximum Transport Time

Minimum “Offload” Time to Provide Feed, Water and Rest

Early weaned pigs

12 hours

Not applicable

Market pigs

36 hours

5 hours

Cattle

48 hours*

5 hours

Lactating dairy cows

12 hours

5 hours

Nursing and pail fed calves

18 hours

5 hours

Calves on special diet

12 hours

5 hours

Sheep

48 hours*

5 hours

Horses

24 hours

5 hours

Poultry

36 hours

Generally slaughtered


*Unless they can reach their final destination in 52 hours.

**Note: These standards are contained within the federal Health of Animals Regulations and enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Source: Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals series.

Responsibilities
  • The humane transport of animals is a joint responsibility of buyers, sellers, assembly point managers and truckers.
  • Transportation starts at the time of loading at the point of origin, and ends after unloading at the final destination.
  • Animals should be transported from point of origin to final destination by the safest route available. Transportation should be completed as quickly as possible.
  • Knowingly inflicting physical injury or causing unnecessary pain to animals is a criminal offence.
Emergency Procedures During Transportation
Emergency procedures to be followed by drivers in the event of a delay during transit, breakdown or accident.
  1. Ensure the comfort and safety of the animals at all times.
  2. Telephone home office immediately to report the emergency situation.
  3. Notify the receiver. (Have night telephone numbers on hand.)
  4. In the event of a breakdown or accident, arrange for the use of another vehicle to move the animals to a sheltered area or to the point of destination.
  5. During extremely hot or cold weather, seek shelter for the animals until the delay is over.
  6. Seek the advice of a veterinarian in the event of distressed or seriously injured animals.
Adapted from: Procedures Bulletin, Ontario Trucking Association as printed in the Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals – Beef Cattle.

References

Canadian Agri-Food Research Council

Canadian Agri-Food Research Council. 2001. Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals, Transportation.


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