Ensuring excellent animal welfare outcomes is a goal of both the industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). CFIA has a mandate to enforce Canada’s Health of Animals legislation, including updates made to the transport of animals provisions in Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations. The amended regulations came into force on February 20, 2020.
Animal Transport and Transfer of Care Records
Under the amended regulations, every commercial carrier or any person who transports animals in the course of business and/or for financial benefit, regardless of the quantity, frequency or duration of animal transports, are required to keep records related to the movement of those animals. There are two required records under the regulations depending on the transportation circumstance:
TRANSFER OF CARE RECORD
REQUIRED WHEN: animals are transported by a farmer or commercial carrier to an abattoir, assembly yard or an auction market
- The date and time the animal(s) arrived at the abattoir, assembly yard, community pasture or auction market
- The condition of the animal(s) on arrival
- The date, time and the place where the animal(s) was last fed, watered and rested
ANIMAL TRANSPORT RECORD
REQUIRED WHEN: animals are transported by a commercial carrier regardless of destination
- The names and addresses of the shipper, receiver and the driver
- Date, time and place where the animal(s) is loaded
- The number, description and weight (actual if available or estimate) of the animal(s)
- The date, time and the place where the animal(s) was last fed, watered and rested prior to loading, and then updated if animals are fed, watered and rested during the journey
- An identification number (license or registration number) of the trailer in which the animals are moved
- The floor space available to the animal(s) on the trailer
- The date and place where the trailer was last cleaned and disinfected
To assist beef farmers and our industry’s service providers in complying with the revised regulations, BFO has developed an Animal Transport Record, which includes the required transfer of care documentation as outlined in the regulation. Hard copy booklets, in triplicate form, can be accessed through the BFO office and are available to auction markets, producers and transporters, free of charge. If you would like a hard copy booklet mailed to you, please contact the office.
Compromised and Unfit Animals
Under the amended regulations, the definitions for unfit and compromised animals, for transportation purposes, have been updated. Unfit cattle must not be transported unless being taken directly to a place (outside of a processing establishment or assembly center) to receive veterinary care and meets the following conditions:
- it is individually loaded and unloaded without having to negotiate any ramps inside the conveyance;
- it is isolated during confinement and transport;
- measures are taken to prevent the animal’s unnecessary suffering, injury or death during loading, confinement, transport and unloading; and
- a veterinarian recommends that the animal be transported to receive veterinary care.
Compromised cattle may only be transported under the following conditions:
- it is isolated (or transported with one other animal with which it is familiar if to do so is unlikely to cause either animal suffering, injury or death and if they are segregated from other animals)
- it is individually loaded and unloaded without having to negotiate any ramps inside the conveyance;
- measures are taken that are necessary to prevent the animal’s suffering, injury or death during loading, confinement, transport and unloading; and
- it is transported directly to the nearest place, other than an assembly center, where it can receive care or be humanely killed.
Every commercial carrier and those persons who transport animals in the course of business or for financial benefit must have a contingency plan. The plan will establish measures to be taken to reduce or mitigate avoidable suffering if:
- there are any unforeseen delays or circumstances that could cause avoidable suffering, injury or death
- an animal becomes compromised or unfit during loading, confinement, transport or unloading
Scroll / swipe to see full table.
|Provision||(Regulations from 1977)||(Amended Regulations 2020)|
|Transport Continuum||Focus mainly on time in confinement||Feed, water, rest (FWR) times begin when FW are removed before loading and do not end until the animal received FWR. It contains the confinement time.|
|Ruminants||Max. 48 hr of transport confinement||Max. 36 hr without FWR|
|All livestock (including ruminants) 8 days of age or less, or too young to be fed exclusively on hay or grain||Max. 18 hr of transport confinement||Max. 12 hr without FWR|
|Compromised Animals||Not specified||Max. 12 hr without FWR|
|Rest Period||5 hr||8 hr|
|Ramps||45 degrees||25 degrees|
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A transfer of care document needs to be used when livestock are transported by a farmer or commercial carrier to an abattoir, assembly yard or an auction market. The required information includes when the animals arrived, their condition and when they were last fed, watered and rested.
If you are transporting your own animals from farm to farm, the animal transport and transfer of care records are NOT required. A transfer of care document would be required if the animals were being transported to an abattoir, assembly yard or an auction market. A animal transport record would be required if the animals were being transported by a commercial carrier to another farm.
If you are transporting your own animals to a community pasture, a transfer of care record IS NOT required. If your animals are being transported by a commercial carrier to a community pasture, only an animal transport record is required.
If you are transporting your own animals to an auction market or abattoir, a transfer of care record IS required. If your animals are being transported by a commercial carrier to an auction market or abattoir, a transfer of care AND an animal transport record are required.
Because the cattle are moving from farm to farm, transfer of care documentation is not required. However, an animal transport record would be needed under this scenario.
An Animal Transport Record, which includes the required transfer of care documentation as outlined in the regulation, has been developed by BFO. Hard copy booklets, in triplicate form, can be accessed through the BFO office and are available to auction markets, producers and transporters, free of charge.
No, transporters can write the required information in any way that works for them. Both the animal transport record and the transfer of care record can be hand written, an email or recorded electronically as long as it is readable and contains the required information, and is retrievable should you ever be asked for it by an inspector. BFO’s Animal Transport Record is simply a tool available to those who wish to use it.
The humane transport regulations have been in place since 1977, and were updated to improve the well-being of animals during the entire transport process, keeping in mind Canada’s geographic size and the time required to travel between locations. The amended regulations have been in place since February, 2020, but the CFIA focused its enforcement efforts on compliance through promotion, education, and awareness measures. As of February, 2022 CFIA has started to enforce the regulations.
All modes of transporting animals are regulated: aircraft, carriage, motor vehicle, trailer, railway car, vessel, crate, cargo container, cage, module and/or any other conveyance or container used to move animals. The Humane Transport regulations are applicable at federal abattoirs, provincial abattoirs, assembly yards, auction marts, etc. Any movement of animals fall under the regulations, CFIA staff is able to do inspections of any of these places at any time.
A contingency plan is to establish measures to reduce or mitigate avoidable suffering if: there are any unforeseen delays or circumstances that could cause avoidable suffering, injury, or death; or if an animal becomes compromised or unfit during loading, confinement, transport or unloading. There is no prescribed format for a contingency plan (can be written or verbal). However, regulated parties must be able to demonstrate that they know what to do in a variety of predictable, possible, transport situations and any contact information must be up to date.
It is recommended that all parties should keep a copy of all livestock transport documentation for two years.
It is the transporter’s responsibility to make the receiver aware when their role stops, and the receiver’s role starts for the responsibility for care of the animals. While transporters can’t make receivers accept the responsibility, they can make a record of the interaction to protect themselves in the case of a dispute.
It is the responsibility of regulated parties to make sure they are following the transfer of care process. The provision of the transfer of care notice and document may be done electronically as it does not require the receiver to be present. While it is best practice for the receiver to be present and acknowledged by the consignee, the regulation was written this way to offer flexibility in situations such as these.
RESOURCES FOR PRODUCERS
- Animal Transport Record - Fillable Form
(Form is 8.5" x 14". If printing, select legal or "fit to page". Hard copy booklets are also available through the BFO office.)
- CFIA Enforcement Approach
- CFIA’s Standard Regulatory Response Process (SRRP)
This is a document intended for CFIA inspectors to guide their response and recommendations to potential or realized risk and non-compliance of regulatory requirements. The SRRP includes definitions related to compliance and enforcement; information on the distinction between control and enforcement actions; steps, flow charts and decision trees on regulatory response processes; an enforcement decision matrix and descriptions of enforcement responses; and guidelines for developing a control response plan.
- Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII Humane Transportation
- Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII Humane Transportation, Interpretive Guidance
- CFIA Then-Now Factsheet
- CFIA Factsheet – Transporting Compromised and Unfit Animals
- CFIA Brochure – Livestock Transport (Are Your Animals Fit for the Trip?)
Concerns with Enforcement Process
There may be some challenges for farmers, transporters and facility personnel as CFIA inspectors adjust to the amended regulations. Anyone wishing to register a complaint or comment related to CFIA quality of service, administrative errors and regulatory decisions may do so directly through the CFIA website.