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Pork Council Addresses Standing Committee on Agriculture, Agri-Food

6 April 2017, at 6:00am

CANADA - Representatives from the Canadian Pork Council were in Ottawa this week (4 April) to address the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food about amendments to Health of Animals Regulations with respect to humane transportation.

First vice chair Frank Novak spoke on behalf of the CPC, outlining some of the Canadian pork industry activities related to animal care and transportation and why pork producers have concerns with the proposed amendments to the regulations.

"Raising livestock is a 24-hours-a-day, 365-day-a-year commitment and those who do it take the responsibility very seriously and consider it much more than a job," said Mr Novak. "Hog producers spend their time raising hogs and want to ensure animals arrive at their destinations in the best condition possible."

Concerns the CPC has with the amendments include reducing the maximum interval for restricting access to food and water from 36 to 28 hours and stopping and unloading pigs during transit.

"Most of the movement with a duration between 28 and 36 hours in our industry are isoweans transported to nursery barns in the Midwest United States," said Mr Novak. "These shipments experience low mortality rates and the nursery barns in the US report exceptional performance from the pigs when they arrive.

"Stopping also compromises their biosecurity, increasing the risk of exposing them to a disease. Unloading of pigs would create significant stress leading to sickness and death losses," he added. "Both these issues do little to improve animal welfare."

The CPC supports efforts to improve animal welfare; however, it believes better progress can be made by designing and implementing outcome-based regulations that are firmly grounded in unbiased science.

Mr Novak noted the University of Saskatchewan has recently initiated research on newly-weaned pigs' ability to withstand long-distance transport. This research will determine the maximum reasonable transport time that does not significantly impact the pigs' welfare.

"Our members are recommending that the regulations not be amended, or at least this particular section, until that research is complete," Mr Novak concluded.