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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Federal Court of Appeal overturns cattle tag decision in Denfield Livestock Sales case

A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal sitting in Montreal has overturned a decision of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal that found Denfield Livestock Sales Limited (DLS) not guilty of having moved cattle without a proper CFIA tag. The Tribunal had ruled that DLS, as auctioneer, did not take ownership and control over the cattle and, therefore, did not cause the movement of the cattle from its facilities to the purchaser's farm. The Attorney-General of Canada decided to seek the judicial review of this decision mainly on the basis that the Tribunal was wrong when it determined that DFS did not have sufficient power and control over the animals to be required by the regulations to ensure that they were properly tagged. The Court of Appeal agreed.

In arriving at its decision, the Court of Appeal analyzed the contractual relationship between vendor, auctioneer and purchaser. Although the auctioneer takes no part in the contract of sale directly between vendor and purchaser, the auctioneer is entrusted by the vendor with possession of the goods being sold, and the auctioneer cannot give up the goods to the purchaser until the purchaser has paid the purchase price. In this way, the Court decided, the Tribunal decision was incorrect in finding that the auctioneer did not have power and control over the animals.

The Court of Appeal has now sent the case back to the Tribunal to be reconsidered on the basis that DFS did have care and control of the animals sufficient to create a duty to tag under the regulations.

The decision of the Federal Court of Appeal is available (but only in French) at:
http://www.canlii.org/fr/ca/caf/doc/2010/2010caf36/2010caf36.html

The original decision of the Canada Agricultural Appeal Tribunal is available at:
http://cart-crac.gc.ca/index_e.php?s1=decisions&page=a60328