CAMBRIDGE, ON—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after a witness saw blood streaming from and caked onto the side of a transport truck at a rest station. Video footage shot at the scene shows a cow with a gaping, bleeding wound aboard the truck, which had Manitoba plates.
Witness Amber Gionet said: “I couldn’t believe how much blood I saw all over the truck, with even more blood coming out of a cow’s open wound. It was heartbreaking to see these gentle and curious animals in such an ugly situation. They deserve so much better than to be injured and forgotten on a transport truck in the middle of the night.”
Ontario law prohibits animal cruelty, and specifically requires animals be transported in a way that ensures their physical safety and welfare. Federal law prohibits over-crowding animals or transporting injured animals, and requires trucks to be free from protrusions or other construction flaws that injure animals.
Veterinarian Maureen Harper reviewed the video footage and said: “This wound appears to be quite severe and the animal would be suffering. Possible causes of the wound are overcrowding, or sharp protrusions or fittings on the vehicle; or it could have been an older wound that was re-opened in transit. This incident needs to be investigated.”
The witnessed reported the incident to the Ontario SPCA which declined to open an investigation, instead instructing the witness to call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). OMAFRA in turn instructed the witness to call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, said: “Canadian animal welfare laws are notoriously weak and under-enforced. This is a case-in-point of how egregious animal cruelty slips through the cracks. We see far too much farmed animal suffering chalked up to business as usual, while law enforcement plays hot potato with animal cruelty reports.”
Animal transport laws are under scrutiny right now as an Ontario woman stands trial for giving water to heat-stressed pigs aboard a transport truck—she has been charged with criminal mischief for interfering with the farmer’s property, his pig. Canadian transport laws are decades old and have been widely criticized for being the worst in the Western world. Drivers aren’t required to have any animal welfare training or licensing.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy