Is This Animal Fit For Transport? Go or Woe!
Last year we were hearing from an increasing number of clients that had received warnings from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with regard to “fitness for transport”. CFIA cautioned that some of the pigs that clients were transporting were “Unfit for Transport”. An animal is unfit for transport or non-ambulatory if any of the following is true. The animal cannot rise without assistance and is reluctant to walk, and exhibits halted movement. The rationale behind this is that “If this animal falls during transportation, it will not be able to get up on its own. This is likely to lead to injury, trampling, undue suffering, and possibly death.” The exception to the rule is that these animals may be transported to a veterinarian for treatment or diagnosis, using specialized equipment and in accordance with provincial regulations and on the advice of a veterinarian. On-farm treatment, euthanasia, or emergency on-farm slaughter of non ambulatory animals are the only other options.
Many of the warnings to clients have involved situations where the client recognized that the pig was not fit to transport in the usual fashion. Often, the client was in the process of delivering small numbers of cull pigs to a local abattoir with special transport provisions in place. In addition to warnings about lameness there were also warnings about animals with slight abdominal distension that was possibly due to rectal stricture post prolapse, skin conditions such as “epitheliogenesis imperfecta” (missing a small patch of skin over the abdomen since birth) and umbilical hernia.
This situation continues to be both an economic and emotional concern for producers. CFIA continues to “raise the bar” with respect to transport of compromised animals. At the same time, the penalties for non-compliance have become more severe and repeat offences further increase the severity of the fines. In addition to charges laid by CFIA there are an increasing number of reports that employees working at provincially inspected abattoirs are initiating complaints to the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). On some occasions this has resulted in a visit to the farm by the OSPCA.
We applaud the efforts being made by the CFIA and Ontario provincial agencies in protecting animal welfare. It is, however, regrettable that as the interpretations of “infirmity” are changing producers sometimes unwittingly find themselves “off side” even though they have conscientiously taken great effort to do the right thing.
Ref: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/ English /anima/trans/ polie.shtml#guide Submitted by George Charbonneau DVM
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