VANCOUVER, CALGARY, TORONTO — Animal advocates held demonstrations across the country on Monday to condemn Canada’s outdated farmed animal transportation rules, which subject animals to brutal and often fatal conditions. The events are part of an international day of action with more than 70 cities participating, from Tanzania to Indonesia to Buenos Aires.
Last week, a criminal trial began in Burlington, Ontario for animal activist Anita Krajnc, who gave water to dehydrated pigs aboard a transport truck. She has been charged with criminal mischief for interfering with the farmer’s “property”—the pigs. Part of her defence is that Canada’s transport laws are outdated and under-enforced. The case is receiving significant international media coverage.
Canada’s transport regulations are decades old, lagging behind all other Western countries. Animals are exposed to extreme weather, shocked with electric prods, and trucked long distances without food, water, or rest. Some animals suffocate or are injured from the intense crowding. Drivers aren’t required to have any animal welfare or handling training.
The demonstrations are being held on Monday, August 29th:
- Toronto: Intersection of Yonge and Dundas, S.W. corner, 1 – 3 p.m. (Event link.)
- Calgary: Harry Hays Government Building, 2240 4th Avenue S.E., 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Event link.) Note: this event will focus on live horse export from Calgary to Japan.
- Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, 12 – 1 p.m. (Event link.)
Former Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian Dr. Maureen Harper says: “Canadian farm animal transport regulations are woefully inadequate and outdated. And unfortunately, there are too many instances in which existing regulations are not being enforced. As a result, far too many animals are forced to endure needless suffering during transport.
Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, says: “Canada’s decades-old transport regulations are the worst in the Western world and a national disgrace. The federal government is responsible for 750 million vulnerable farmed animals each year, yet it inexplicably refuses to update the welfare regulations or ensure compliance with the weak laws we do have.”
The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals has initiated a Parliamentary petition, sponsored by Liberal MP Alexandra Mendès, calling for the Minister of Agriculture to modernize Canada’s transport regulations. So far it has garnered five thousand signatures.
In 2014, CTV’s W5 aired secretly recorded footage showing animals being beaten and kicked by transport personnel, injured animals being shocked with electric prods, and animals so crowded they were forced to climb on top of each other. Federal law enforcement agents were present but failed to act.
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These events are being coordinated as part of Compassion in World Farming’s Not Freight global day of action. For more information, please visit the event site at www.NotFreight.org.
Stephanie Brown, director, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals
Maureen Hurly, organizer, Canadians Against Live Export
Dr. Maureen Harper, veterinarian
Anna Pippus, lawyer and director of farmed animal advocacy, Animal Justice