Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals

Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals

May 26, 2005 09:15 ET

Canada ignoring suffering of animals bound for Hawaii

Animals' Angels documents violations of the law Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, World News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 26, 2005) - Week after week, 400 Canadian pigs are exported from Alberta to California, then to slaughterhouses in Hawaii in conditions which violate Canadian law. Animals' Angels, an international animal rights organization and Animal Rights Hawaii, with support from the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA), submitted extensive proof of violations to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the USDA.

"Canadian law requires animals to be unloaded for rest following long distance transport. While the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would clearly like to wash their hands of this, arguing that once animals leave Canada it is no longer their responsibility, these trucks aren't merely hauling freight. These pigs are living, breathing beings, and the agency has a moral duty to these animals and their well-being," says Stephanie Brown, of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals.

In Europe, authorities at the origin of transport are responsible for transport conditions during the entire journey, says Lesley Moffat, Project Manager of Animals' Angels for Canada. Canadian pigs are transported 8.5 days to Hawaii, first by truck (2,129 kilometers to California), then by ship under extreme weather conditions and without adequate supplies, "in order to be offered as fresh meat in Hawaii," says Ms. Moffat.

The animals' suffering begins even before the long-distance transport to Hawaii. Animals' Angels documented dead pigs at collection and loading points in Lethbridge, Alberta. No veterinarian was present to check the pigs' condition and health and to certify their fitness to travel.

Trucks are driven by one driver the entire route without a break for man or beast. "The Alberta-Oakland (loading port in California) route cannot be done in less than 42 hours under proper conditions. Nevertheless, drivers reach their destination in 28 hours, despite requirements for eight hours rest after 13 hours of driving," says Ms. Moffat.

Once the trucks reach California, the animals are not unloaded (as required), but moved to partially broken-down ship containers for 36 hours. Containers sit in the blazing sun without adequate ventilation. Animals have no chance to recuperate, with high outside temperatures and even higher inside-temperatures. The stench of liquid manure in the containers leads to irritation of the mucous membranes, respiratory disease and the animals' deteriorating health.

The pigs are then reloaded to newer containers and transported to the Port of Oakland, where they wait among other containers for approximately six hours, surrounded by noisy cranes and transport vehicles. Rough seas cause further suffering. Animals' Angels documented more animal deaths after five days at sea, from stress compounded by inadequate feed. At unloading, many animals were weak or injured and two were dead. Animals which can't walk are dragged out.

Animals' Angels submitted written evidence and film to the CFIA, but the agency does not accept responsibility for transports once they enter the USA. Canadian law stipulates pigs may not transported longer than 36 hours before unloading into pens for rest, adequate food, water and space to lie down, with protection from inclement weather. "In Europe, government authorities inspect all animals and guarantee transports are subject to EU provisions during transport, including animals imported to the EU and those destined for other countries. The same is needed in Canada," Ms. Moffat says.

Earlier this week, Animals Angels' video footage was used in a presentation by Compassion in World Farming at the 73rd annual general session of the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) being held in Paris this week. On Tuesday, OIE delegates voted to adopt international guidelines for animal transport which will, once formally adopted this Friday, provide guidelines to the OIE's 167 member countries, including Canada, on how to conduct animal transport by land and sea as well as slaughter for both human consumption and disease control. /For further information: Editor's Note: The Animals' Angels film of the Alberta - Hawaii pig transport is available in Beta Cam NTSC or CD-ROM. Contact CCFA at 416.920.4984 for copies. A detailed research report dated 5 October 2004 to 13 October 2004 is available on the website or

Further information:

Lesley Moffat, Animals' Angels (cell)

Cathy Goeggel, Animal Rights Hawaii
1.808.721.4211 (cell)

Stephanie Brown, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA)

Contact Information

  • Stephanie Brown, Spokesperson, World Society for the Protection of Animals
    Primary Phone: 416-920-4984