LMAC Comments on Transportation Regulations 2017

Feb 14, 2017

The LMAC is a National Organization that represents over 200 auction markets, order-­‐buyers, buying stations, assembly yards, electronic auctions and feedlots from all over Canada. The members are involved with approximately75% of the cattle that are sold by public auction and direct cattle sales each year in Canada. Its members routinely arrange for the transportation of hundreds of thousands of cattle that are transported to new destinations across Canada and into the United States.In many cases they are also the owners of the cattle being transported. LMAC supports “Made in Canada” solutions that deal with unique challenges that arise from transporting animals in Canada. We understand that there is a desire from CFIA to have Canada in line with other countries’ transport regulations, however,first and foremost,any regulations must meet the needs of Canada first.

The Business Process

The business process in shipping livestock is very clear. The shipper/owner of the livestock retains ownership until the cattle are delivered. No payment is made until the cattle arrive and are accepted by the purchaser on delivery. The cattle in question are normally sold on a price per pound basis with the purchase weight determined prior to the loading of the livestock. There are industry standards for shrink (the difference between the purchase weight and the delivered weight of the animals) that occurs during transit,based on the number of miles that the cattle have been transported. If the shrink exceeds the normal industry standard,then the purchaser will reject the load or seek a financial adjustment on the price. Also, if the cattle arrived dehydrated, stressed, over fatigued, sick or injured,the purchaser will reject the load.

If the shipper feels that the transporter is responsible for any of the above issues,they may withhold payment for transport and will probably not use the firm for future loads. In an extreme case,the issueisreported to the CFIA. The shipper/owner has a vested interest in making sure that the cattle being transported arrive in a healthy condition. The cattle marketing sector takes the transportation and handling of animals very seriously.It works veryhardwith its members and other industry sectors to maintain a positive reputation.The majority of the cattle being transported are insured.If there were an excessive amount of claims,there would be no companies willingto cover livestock transport over long distances. A number of insurance companies continue to offer coverage to the owners of the cattle at a very reasonable cost per head.Cattle that are being transported for slaughter are usually sold on a carcass grade basis, which means the value of the animal is determined after slaughter. The owner is penalized for any bruising, and for any parts of the carcass that are deemed unfit for human consumption orforany condemned carcasses.

The disposal fees forthe condemned carcasses are usually the responsibility of the owner. Once again it is in the best interest of both the owner and the transporter to make sure that cattle are delivered to the destination in good health and in good condition. The Livestock Markets Association of Canada would like to formally submit the attached comments on the proposed amendment to the Transport of Animals regulations. Throughout the Regulations,Auction Markets and Assembly Yards are singled out as places at whichanimals cannot be unloaded. The Regulators that develop theseregulations should be aware that many auction markets, assembly yards and buying stations also offer feed, water and short term storage to transporters hauling livestock long distances. Auctionmarkets, assembly yards and buying stations are also a critical part of the contingency plans required in the regulations in the events of bad weather, road closures and mechanical breakdowns on trucks. Many of those same intermediate sites,as an industry service,allow transporters to stop and use their facilities to deal with animals that have been injured or compromised during the trip. These intermediate sitesare an integral part of

The infrastructure required across Canada to assist in Humane Transportation. Throughout the regulations there is an attempt to have all of the species covered under generalized regulations. Concerns that are more prevalent in swine, equine or poultry transportation should not always apply to cattle. There needs to be more species-­‐specificreference within the regulations. Section 137: Knowledge and SkillsWhat metrics will be used in the enforcement of this section to determine if the persons referenced in this part have the knowledgeand skills to conduct the activities in compliance with the regulations?In section 136:(2)states that loading begins when an animal is handled, moved or caught for the purpose of placing it in a conveyance. Is it the intent to require all intermediate site employees that bring the livestock to the loading area to have some type of formal training?Intermediate site employees are often required to bring the cattle in question to the loading area, at times under the direction of the transporter.They assist in dividing the consignment into groups that are loaded into the different compartments. Work, Health and Safety policies at most intermediate sites prohibit them from entering the trucks.

Transport Compromised Animals

Section 136: (1d) Definition of Compromised – Animals that have had pink eye in the past but have healed may have a white cloud on the eye that may impair their sight. Animals with this condition are not usually stressed or liable to cause injury to themselves when loaded for transport. What metrics will be used to determine if this type of animal is considered compromised under this definition?
(f.) Slightly Lame: The term ‘lame’ has never been adequately defined by CFIA, this definition is far toobroad and too open to individual interpretation by enforcement officers. A usable definition of any condition that could characterize an animal as compromised must be 1) objective, 2) easily identifiable 3) based on some quantifiable scientific analysis. The definitions of terms under this section often miss one or more of these criteria. The definition of lameness misses all three and should be removed or reworked entirely. Slight lameness can be caused by a variety of conditions, and there needs to be more detail in the definition of “slightly lame” and “slightly imperfect locomotion.”

7Section 142: (1) (d) – The reference to auction market or assembly yard should be removed from this section when referring to the definitions in 136 (1) (d)and (f).Section: 159(e): Current regulations are at 48 hours and can be extended to 52. Since the time that transportation for livestock has switched from rail service to trucks,the 48‐hour provision has served the industry very well. We are not aware of any instances where loads of beef cattle have been under investigation by CFIA for showing symptoms of dehydration and stress because they were on the truck for 48 hours, provided that they were fed, watered and rested prior to loading. The beef cattle industry should not be punished because of issues with other species. As mentioned previously,industry practice is to feed, water and rest the cattle prior to loading, in order to ensure healthy strong animals on arrival. Consideration must given to the fact that there is not enough infrastructure and facilities to accommodate the volume of cattle moved during peak times (fall and spring) if the 36‐hour regulation is implemented.

For example: East of Winnipeg,the only feed and water stations in Northern Ontario are at Thunder Bay. There are two locations: Western Canada Feeding and M&M Cattle Rest and Feeding Station. Combined, they have 38 pens. If a transport has a split load, which is common, and needs to have the animals segregated,one truck may require two or more pens. Transporters leaving from west of Manitoba routinely use these locations to feed, water and rest their loads. The owners of the two locations have indicated that they are normally fully booked Tuesday through Saturday during the peak times (fall and spring). Travelling the most direct route through the north, there are no other locations between Thunder Bay and Ottawa to unload cattle destined to Eastern Ontario or Quebec. Cattle leaving from Manitoba going east require 10 to 12 hours to reach Thunder Bay. The cattle on those loads have been fed, watered and rested prior to loading. Neither the cattle nor the drivers of the trucks are ready to unload after that short trip. There will more stress and chance of injury to the animals loading and unloading than the benefits they will gain by stopping after that short time on the truck. They will consume very little feed and water,especially freshly weaned calves. A common practice is for the drivers to drive until they require a rest break. The truck is stopped on level ground in a well-­‐ventilated area. The driver checks the load prior to resting and sleeps for 8 to 10 hours. Before proceeding, the driver rechecks the load, gets the cattle up,and moves on. Barring bad weather,the cattle reach the final destination within the current 48‐hour requirements. This has allowed shipments from Manitoba to reach their destinations within the current regulated time without stopping at Thunder Bay.

If the regulations are changed to 36 hours,this will create a bottleneck at Thunder Bay,and trucks may have to wait hours to unload, while waiting for room at the feed and water stations. The next closest location is Winnipeg to the west. Winnipeg Livestock Sales in an auction market, but they conduct their largest sales of the week on Friday and may have limited room as a service provider for loads in transit during the peak times. They currently provide feed and water pens for their customers who are purchasing livestock at their market and assembling loads at their location.
Second 159 (2):Are CFIA inspectors going to be conducting compliance checks at these feed and water locations on a regular basis under this section? Who is responsible to make sure there is adequate feed and bedding in the pens, clean water bowls and that the cattle are not over crowded?

The Federal government decided that the West Hawk Lake inspection point,which checked loads of livestock while in transit,was no longer needed, which further questions some of the need to reduce the hours from 48 to 36. Obviously,the West Hawk inspectors did not find loads of cattle that were dehydrated or over-stressed on a regular basis.

Section 159.3 (1) (a) – If the intent of this section is to reference the leaving of a compromised animal or one that has become unfit during transportation, then that should be made clear in the regulation and not left to policy. However under the Proposed Section 159.3 (1) (a) and (b),this requirement would be a burden to industry and not equate with the current business practice. Industry does not offer 24/7 service to receive and unload cattle at the majority of the auctions, buying stations, assembly yards and feedlots. There are many situations where this proposal would be an unrealistic expectation and would impose unnecessary costs to industry without additional benefits. Requiring the cattle to remain on the transport until the receiving site opens or employees are called in would have more potential harm than the current practice.The current practice is that for cattle arriving outside regular business hours, the transporter will call ahead and will advise of a projected arrival time. A receiving pen, usually with feed and water,will be set up and reserved for that shipment. The driver will unload and put the cattle in the pen upon arrival. In the event that there are animals that are stressed or injured,the truck will call dispatch and dispatch will in turn call the receiver of the cattle. Requiring a representative of the company to physically be there to unload would result in some loads of cattle remaining on the transport longer than necessary while waiting for the vendor to open,or for an employee to arrive. This section should only apply in the event that there are injured or compromised cattle unloaded.

Subsection 159.3(b) – We question the purpose of this sub section. What will be done with the information required under (b)? This would require all shippers to have a feed declaration accompany the livestock and have the consignee or their employee be physically there to accept the document. What purpose would this document serve on short haul cattle for example that transported less than 8 hours?For cattle that are consigned to a intermediate site such as an auction market the time and date when the cattle were last fed would not be needed nor could it be validated by the receiver. In the event that the cattle arrive under the regulated hours, this information is irrelevant. This requirement will create more unnecessary record keeping.

Section 159.4 (1) – Most of the requirements in this section are already covered or will be covered under the Movement Reporting Regulations that are being developed by CFIA. The majority of shippers already use Manifests provided by the shipper. What is the purpose of (c) (d) (g)?In (g) This proposal’s wording is ambiguous, as it leaves too much room for interpretation. Does this mean, when the cattle were fed and watered, or when was the time and date the cattle last had access to feed and water? In (f), the allowable weight for each truck varies due to the different weights of the trucks and trailers and the seasonal “road weight restrictions” allowed by each province. CFIA already has loading density guides that are used by industry.

13159.4 (3) – LMAC does not see the necessity for this section. In many cases, a third party vendor provides the feed and water. In this case,is it the responsibility of the service provider to supply the declaration? Are these declarations then forwarded to a third party or retained by the transporter?

It is LMAC and industry’s understanding that regulations should be deliverable and enforceable. Many of the proposed changes are neither deliverable nor enforceable, nor are they practical. CFIA does not have the manpower in the field nor the budget to enforce many of these changes. It is also our understanding that many of the details will be determined by policy. This is a concern for LMAC as we have learned from the past that policy can change with no consultation with industry. It opens the door for interpretation from individual inspectors, which in turn leads to inconsistent enforcement causing confusion within the industry. Regulatory changes should be based on science rather than public opinion. There has been very little research done in Canada on long haul transportation of cattle. The regulators need to be aware that dehydration is closely linked to temperature and weather conditions and that Industry is very conscientious about making sure that cattle handled in a humane manner and are delivered to the next destination in the best health possible. Problems with other species should be taken into consideration when formulating regulations for cattle. Species harmonization may be the easiest route from CFIA but in many cases it may hinder the cattle industry.

One other concern is the cost benefit analysis. If all of these recommended changes are included in the new regulatory there will be considerable cost to the industry with limited benefits. In closing, the LMAC strongly supports leaving the hours of transport for Beef Cattle at 48 hours. This time allowance has served the industry well in the past and there is very little research to support the reduction in hours. Studies conducted by the Beef Canada Research Center and Alberta Beef Producers showed that 99% of the cattle hauled on 9000 loads arrived without injury and were in good health. As pointed out at the start of our comments, LMAC and its customers have a vested interest in ensuring that cattle are well cared for during handling and transporting.

LMAC looks towards CFIA and government to develop regulations that are “Made in Canada” to address Canadian challenges without putting unnecessary regulatory burden and undo cost on to the cattle industry.