Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Animal Rights Group Urges New Transportation Regulations after Abuse Allegations

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Animal Rights Group Urges New Transportation Regulations after Abuse Allegations

Article excerpt

Animal rights group urges updated regulations

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OTTAWA - An animal rights group is urging the federal government to finally move forward with updated transportation regulations after allegations of abuse at a hog facility in Red Deer.

Mercy for Animals Canada has released a video taken at the Western Hog Exchange facility earlier this year that shows hogs being kicked and struck with what appears to be a club.

The organization says the video was taken undercover and it also shows some of the animals limping and others crammed into a corral.

Alberta's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is looking into the allegations and the facility has also launched an independent investigation with third-party experts in animal care and transportation.

But Mercy for Animals says only the federal government can ensure such treatment doesn't happen again.

"Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has the power and the responsibility to protect pigs and other farmed animals from flagrant cruelty, neglect and agonizing deaths during transport," said Krista Osborne, executive director of Mercy for Animals at a news conference Monday.

The group wants the federal regulations that govern animal transport updated to include measurable standards of care and clearer definitions on what constitutes acceptable transportation conditions.

For example, the group says, some animals can be transported for up to 52 hours without access to food, water or rest, while in the rest of the western world that standard is eight hours.

Another example is weather. Despite the extremes of the Canadian climate, there are no specific guidelines on what transportation conditions need to be in place to prevent animals being harmed by exposure to the elements.

The group also wants financial penalties for breaking the rules to be raised and more strictly enforced.

In March, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had told the House of Commons that new regulations were under review.

His office would only provide comments via e-mail Monday and they did not answer a query about the status of that review, saying only that animal welfare is a shared jurisdiction. …

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