CANADIAN CODE OF PRACTICE FOR EQUINES #7
Transportation applies to both commercial haulers and individual transporters. Where necessary, pecific provisions for either loose or halter loaded horses have been included. The scope of the equine Code of Practice ends at the farm gate, but includes Requirements and Recommended Practices that affect the transportation process. Refer to the Code of Practice-Transportation for the actual transportation process (31).
The federal requirements for animal transport are covered under the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII (31). They are enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with the assistance of other federal, provincial and territorial authorities. Some provinces have additional regulations related to animal transport. Per the Health of Animals Regulations, each person responsible for transporting animals, or arranging for their transport, must ensure that no part of the transportation process causes injury or undue suffering to the animals (31). As these regulations may change over time, ensure that you have the most current information.
If you are responsible for loading, transporting or unloading animals, you must be familiar with, and follow, Canada's animal transport requirements. Your vehicle is subject to inspection at any time. If you do not comply with the regulations, you could be fined or prosecuted. If your actions or neglect are considered animal abuse, you could also be charged and convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada and/ or provinefal legislation (32).
Pre-Transport Decision Making
Per the Health of Animals Regulations, it is the responsibility of the party that is transporting or loading animals (or causing animals to be transported or loaded) to ensure that all animals are fit for the intended journey. Those responsible for arranging transport need to consider how long the horses will be in transit until their final destination and any additional services that may be required (e.g. feed, water, rest). If in doubt, assume the longest trip. Refer also to Appendix H-Transport Decision Tree.
Fitness for Transport
Horse owners and persons transporting horses have a primary responsibility for determining if an animal is fit for the expected duration of the trip. While the driver should not be relied upon to determine whether the horse is fit for transport, they have the right and responsibility to refuse to load a horse that they recognize as unfit.
Do not load horses with a reduced capacity to withstand transportation. This may be due to injury, fatigue, infirmity, poor health, distress, impending parturition or any other cause (33). Never transport a horse unless you are sure it is healthy enough to withstand the stress of the entire expected trip (including intermediate stops). Each case must be judged individually, and the welfare of the horse must be the first consideration. If you are not sure whether a horse is fit for the trip, do not transport - contact a veterinarian.
When animals are unfit for transport, you must provide treatment until the animal is fit for the trip or not transport the animal, and, if necessary, euthanize the animal. Per the Health of Animals Regulations, it is illegal to load or unload a non-ambulatory animal unless the animal is being transported with special provisions for veterinary treatment or diagnosis.
Horses must be individually assessed for fitness for transport before being transported. Evaluate fitness for transport in the context of each trip and all relevant factors (e.g. anticipated total trip duration from farm to final destination and prevailing weather conditions).
Unfit horses must not be transported, except for veterinary diagnosis or treatment.
Refer to Appendix H-Transport Decision Tree.
consult a veterinarian if uncertain about the horse's fitness for transport.
Preparing Horses for Transport
Preparation for transport starts long before the trip actually begins. Management factors such as lameness prevention, training to load, nutrition and other factors have a collective impact on fitness for transport, and should be considered as a whole.
If the expected duration of the horse's confinement is longer than 24 hours from the time of loading, the horse must be fed and watered within five hours before being loaded (31).
a. check the vaccination and health status requirements for your destination well in advance of the transport date, particularly for transport to another country or province
b. avoid changes in diet immediately before or during a trip (34)
c. pack extra feed and water in case there are unanticipated delays during transport
d. develop a contingency plan before each trip, including:
contact details for veterinarians and local authorities along the route information on rest stops where horses may be unloaded, rested, fed and watered maps or other navigation systems for alternate route planning
e. keep a first-aid kit in the transport vehicle.
If using protective equipment (e.g. wraps and shipping boots):
a. seek advice from a knowledgeable and experienced horseperson
b. ensure protective equipment fits the horse correctly and comfortably
c. acclimate the horse to wearing protective equipment before training to load or transport.
Horse owners and managers have a responsibility to ensure that the transporter is trained and qualified.
a. ensure only trained personnel load, unload and transport horses
b. ensure all required paperwork is completed and provided to the transporter. The required paperwork varies - refer to the provincial authority and the Health of Animals Regulations
c. ensure loading facilities are compatible with the type of trailer being used
d. ensure the following information is discussed and agreed upon between the driver and consigner:
number of horses to be transported; class of horses to be transported (e.g. yearlings, mature stallions) time and point of loading destination; any special considerations for the horses being transported; protection from extremes of temperature (cold or hot), especially for foals and geriatrics.
Loading and Unloading
Research on farm animal transport shows that loading and unloading are stressful components of transport. A combination of stressors can occur in a short period of time, including exposure to unfamiliar surroundings and animals. Injuries may occur when animals slip or fall.
The requirements for loading and unloading procedures and equipment as described in the Health of Animals Regulations must be complied with.
Mares and Jennets must not be transported if they are likely to give birth during the trip.
Every mare with its suckling offspring must be segregated from all other animals during transport.
Every mature stallion must be segregated from all other animals during transport.
Horses must be individually assessed before loading and upon arrival back to the farm.
Refer to Appendix H-Transport Decision Tree.
a. ensure handlers are trained in proper loading and unloading practices
b. ensure roads and loading areas are accessible in all kinds of weather
c. ensure loading facilities have gende ramps and are uniformly lit (avoid sharp contrasts and shadows)
d. load horses calmly and quietly
e. clean and sanitize vehicles between uses, especially if transporting horses of different origin
f. for vehicles requiring horses to step up: use a rubber bumper to prevent injuries as the horse steps up
g. for loose loading: determine the proper loading density (refer to the Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm nimals: Transportation) and ship pre-socialized horses together.
The Health of Animals Regulations prohibit loading and
unloading an animal in a way likely to cause injury or undue
suffering. The Regulations also require that ramps, chutes
and other equipment used for loading and unloading animals:
be maintained and used so as not to cause injury or undue
suffering to animals
have sides of sufficient strength and height to prevent
animals from falling off the ramp or other equipment
provide animals with secure footing on ramps, inside the
trailer and in the loading area
have no unprotected gap between the ramp and the vehicle.
Training to Load
Section 8.2.1 is applicable to halter loaded horses. Horses well trained to the halter should be taught loading procedures well before the anticipated date of transport. Horses that have had a positive experience loading are often less fearful than horses loaded for the first time. Training to load also facilitates loading during an emergency.
Techniques for training to load include:
teach the horse to lead, stop, turn in both directions, and back up in-hand before asking the horse to load in a vehicle
ensure the vehicle entrance is wide and well lit
load and unload the horse several times to reinforce training
use caution when closing the trailer as some horses may panic
consider using positive reinforcement (e.g. giving the horse a food reward when the horse loads successfully)
use a trailer that is large and open (during initial training)
load an experienced horse first (the horse in training may be more apt to load following a familiar companion).
Refer to Section 6.3-Principles in Training and Teaming Theory for other details relevant to training.
seek assistance on ttaining to load from a knowledgeable and experienced horseperson.
On-Farm Management Post-Transport
Research suggests that transport itself or the simultaneous management changes associated with transport (e.g. new surroundings, physical constraint and deprivation of water and feed) can predispose horses to colic and respiratory disease.
Horses must be provided with water upon arrival to the farm.
a. avoid changes in feed shortly after transport
b. monitor recently transported horses carefully for dehydration, wounds, signs of colic, fever or respiratory disease, particularly after long distance transport or when horses of different origin
c. segregate new arrivals from resident horses for at least seven days and monitor their health status.
THE WORST I'VE EVER SEEN, WAS BACK IN JANUARY 1975.
I WAS WORKING FOR THE LARGEST BREEDING THOROUGHBRED FARM IN CANADA.
A HORSE WAS BEING TRANSPORTED FROM CALIFORNIA TO BE BRED TO ONE OF THE STALLIONS AT THE FARM.
THE TEMPERATURE AT THE STABLE WAS -30 F.
NO BLANKET WAS PLACED ON THE HORSE BY ANYONE, NOT EVEN BY THE STUD FARM I WAS WORKING FOR.
THE HORSE NATURALLY GOT SICK, AND WAS DEAD WITH 3 DAYS OF ARRIVAL.
THE OFFICIAL RESULT FROM THE RESEARCH LAB WAS: IT DIED OF PNEUMONIA.
I GUESS SO...... STUPID PEOPLE FROM STAR TO FINISH. SOON AFTER I RESIGNED FROM THAT STUD BREEDING HORSE FARM. Keith Hunt