Cattle producers get longer phase-in on new transport regs

New federal livestock transport regulations, due to come into force in February, will now roll out on a longer timeline for the beef and dairy cattle sectors.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced a “two-year transition period” for bovines, which is meant to provide “time to gather more data on effective solutions concerning the transport of cattle, while ensuring the preparedness of the sector in Canada.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is otherwise set to begin enforcement in February 2020 for the now-amended Humane Transportation of Animals regulations.

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Bibeau announced the transition period during a Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) event Wednesday in Ottawa. Canadians, she said in a statement, “know our ranchers and farmers are committed to the welfare of animals, while fostering a high degree of public trust.”

Of the new regulations, she said “we understand that the bovine sector requires more time to meet the new transportation requirements for feed, water, and rest.”

A CCA representative said Thursday the organization is “looking forward to hearing more details of the proposed delay.”

The CCA said it also hopes CFIA, during the transition period, is willing to “pause and take into account ongoing government-funded livestock transportation research to ensure we get the regulations right.”

The amended regulations due to take effect in February focus on time spent in transport without feed, water and rest, as opposed to time spent in confinement, the government has said previously.

For ruminant livestock, the new rules call for a maximum of 36 hours in transport without feed, water and rest, compared to the current maximum of 48 hours of transport confinement.

For ruminants too young to be fed exclusively hay and grain, the new maximum was to be 12 hours without feed, water and rest, where the current maximum for calves is 18 hours of transport confinement. For “compromised” animals, the maximum time without feed, water and rest under the new rules is also set at 12 hours.

For cattle and calves, the “rest” period following the maximum interval without feed, water and rest was to be eight hours under the new rules, up from five currently.

Reporting by Lisa Guenther of Canadian Cattlemen, writing by Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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