As cow vets all know, there is numerous situations when we are asked to evaluate a bovine medical case and decide the best course of action for the producer. I also recently had a producer question if it was legal to transport a bovine patient to the clinic for a procedure. Today I am going to help summarize some of the Canadian transport regulations and the recent draft of changes put forth by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Recently the Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners published a synopsis that they received from the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners, which summarized the latest changes in cattle transport regulations which are due to come into effect February 2020. These regulations have recently been released for public comment. This synopsis put forth highlights the areas that may be of greater concern for producers and transporters.
There are two categories that have been created to classify medical conditions in cattle and other species. These are Compromised and Unfit. Unfit animals cannot be transported except to receive medical care. Compromised animals cannot be sent to an auction market or assembly yard.
We all should note that lameness of any kind, both mild and severe, fall into either compromised or unfit categories. Therefore auction markets should not see any lame cattle.
Challenges resulting from the changes include the fact that lactating animals cannot be transported unless milked at regular intervals. This prevents mammary engorgement and is the largest concern in dairy cows. Still animals in peak lactation are considered compromised, and a dry off period is needed prior to transport.
Other changes which mostly affect dairy cattle but can be pertinent in some beef cattle movements is transportation of calves less than 8 days old. These calves cannot be transported to a sale barn or assembly center until they are over 8 days of age. They can however be transported for up to 12 hours if calves are loaded individually in trailers that do not have internal ramps. Also these calves must be able to lie down without lying on top of each other and are separated from other animals over 8 days of age. Stops can be made only to add additional animals on the way to their final destination.
8 hours consecutive hours of rest, feed, and safe water must be provided at intervals that must not exceed 12 hours on compromised animals, and 36 for other ruminants.
In summary this is a brief overview of some transport guidelines, and changes put forth by the CFIA. This brief article is not meant to replace the entire document in its entirety (see link below). If you have any questions the entire document outlining all aspects of transport can be found at:
This document also outlines regulations for animal handling, space requirements and animal comfort, transfer of care and required records, and transporter/ carrier requirements.
I would like to acknowledge my source, the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners, and the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians. If you have any further questions please call your veterinarian, or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for details.