These were applications for judicial review of two decisions of the Review Tribunal that had found that the respondents had not violated section 138(2) of the Health of Animals Regulations when they loaded and transported a seriously injured hog in a motor vehicle. The evidence showed that the hog had been unable to get up; and that it had an open fracture with a lot of necrosis of the skin, muscle and bone tissue on the side of the left hind. They had to use the skid to get it out of the truck. The veterinarian who attended indicated that this strongly suggested that the condition must have lasted for at least 10 days.
At issue in the case was the interpretation of the words “without undue suffering”. The Tribunal found that the word “undue” meant “excessive”, and that the loading and transportation could not have aggravated the hog’s injuries thereby causing it excessive suffering. The Tribunal reached this conclusion even though it found the hog was suffering before it was loaded and transported.
The federal court of appeal held that the applications should be allowed. They indicated that the Tribunal had misinterpreted the words “without undue suffering” and that the interpretation had led to the absurd result that would allow the loading and transportation of suffering animals. The clear purpose of the Regulations is to protect the health of animals. “Undue” was, instead, equated with “undeserved”, “unwarranted”, “unjustified” and “unmerited”. In light of this interpretation, an injured and suffering animal cannot be loaded and transported, since any such loading or transportation will cause “unjustified” and “unreasonable” suffering to the animal.
Source: Case Law
Jurisdiction: Canada (Federal)