Anyone who owns and moves livestock needs to get up close and personal with the latest transportation regulations. The rules encompass all animal movement, including that done by farmers themselves, and has been law for two years.
The “for two years” part has caught some producers by surprise, and that’s because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has used the last two years as a compliance, education, and communication period for some aspects of the rules, specifically the feed, water, and rest provisions.
For the cattle industry, those provisions have been some of the more challenging to accommodate in the industry. but for sheep and goat producers, the biggest adaptation will be regarding transport manifests, transfer of care documentation, and making decisions for compromised animals.
Sarah Moore, DVM, with CFIA, spoke to the Ontario Sheep Farmers via webinar on February 17, 2022, to review the biggest changes to the transport of sheep and goats.
It’s important that every person responsible for activities related to the loading, unloading, or transporting of animals, is familiar with – and follows – Canada’s transport of animal’s regulations, OSF says. For sheep producers hauling sheep to an auction barn or abattoir, a load manifest is required and must include information of the drop off point (the auction barn, assembly yard, or abattoir).
Sign off on the “transfer of care” has not been an easy addition in the last few weeks. Several producers raised the issue that not all auction barns or abattoirs are ready for this added step, and that there isn’t always personnel available to sign off. Nonetheless, Moore says, producers should do their best with the documentation, and keep any transport manifests or transfer of care documentation for two years.
What’s more, even non-commercial haulers must have a contingency plan for eventualities, such as animals becoming compromised during transport, a plan for veterinary care if required, or a plan for shade or warmth, should the planned trip take longer than anticipated. The plan, however, does not need to be written down. Commercial haulers, defined as those hauling for a fee, must have livestock hauling training, though, again, it’s not necessary to have documentation at all times to prove the completion of training.
Loading densities, headspace, and minimum standards of what is considered an acceptable conveyance have also been updated, and producers need to familiarize themselves with the regulations, Moore says.
The care and transport of compromised animals is more explicit than previous regulation — animals that are compromised, including those that are lame, must be transported in a solitary compartment, for example. Unfit animals are not allowed to be transported, expect to veterinary care and under the instruction of a vet.
Moore also stressed that it’s important that producers realize that the feed, water, and rest time periods begin when any one of these three things is removed — not from the time the animal loads on the trailer.
For more details as well as supporting documents, such as the OSF Transport Manifest and information on contingency planning visit www.ontariosheep.org/Transport