2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quebec company found to have transported a "compromised pig" in violation of Health of Animals Regulation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), alleged that Trans-Porcs B.M. inc. (Trans-Porcs), on March 12, 2008, in Yamachiche, Quebec, transported a compromised pig that could not be transported without undue suffering during the expected journey, contrary to paragraph 138(2)(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations.  Trans-Porcs challened the notice of violation that was issued by the CFIA before the Canadian Agricultural Review Tribunal at a hearing in Drummondville, Quebec.  On review of the case, Dr. Donald Buckingham, Chairman of the Tribunal, found that the CFIA had proven all necessary elements of the violation on a balance of probabilities.

The following evidence was not contested at the hearing:
•On March 12, 2008, Trans-Porcs loaded 223 pigs, including a compromised pig, transported the pigs for more than one hour, and unloaded them all at the Atrahan Transformation inc. abattoir at or about 1:30 p.m.
•The compromised pig was lame, bore the owner's tattoo (No. 12066), was placed in the holding pen after unloading and was given a holding tattoo (No. S-14-1). The pig was examined ante mortem. The pig was euthanized, and a post mortem examination was conducted on the carcass.
The contested evidence in this case was in answer to the following question: "What was the condition of the compromised pig before transportation, during transportation and upon arrival at the abattoir on March 12, 2008?".

For there to be a violation of paragraph 138(2)(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations, the CFIA must establish the following elements (from an earlier case called Doyon):
1. that the animal in question was loaded (or was caused to be loaded) or transported (or caused to be transported);

2. that the animal in question was loaded onto or transported on a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel;

3. that the cargo loaded or transported was an animal;

4. that the animal could not be transported without undue suffering;

5. that the animal suffered unduly during the expected journey ("voyage prévu" in French);

6. that the animal could not be transported without undue suffering by reason of infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue or any other cause; and

7. that there was a causal link between the transportation, the undue suffering and the animal's infirmity, illness, injury or fatigue, or any other cause.
In finding that a violation had been committed, Dr. Buckingham's ruled:
In this case, the pig was not transported without undue suffering. Upon the pig's arrival at the abattoir, the animal was observed to have grade 4 lameness. As it is unlikely that the pig had already been suffering from grade 4 lameness on the farm of origin (given that it had walked up the truck ramp), that deterioration resulted from transportation to the abattoir. If the pig had already been suffering from significant lameness on the farm of origin, according to the Court's reasoning in Cèdres, the Tribunal finds that it was very unreasonable to have transported the pig, since the industry prohibits producers and transporters from transporting a pig in such a condition. It is assumed that transporting an animal in such a condition will undoubtedly cause undue suffering. However, if the deterioration in the pig's condition occurred during transportation, the Court's reasoning in Doyon would apply, and the Tribunal is satisfied that the Agency has proven elements 4, 5, 6 and 7, as required in Doyon, above.
The violation resulted in a fine of $2,200 to Trans-Porcs, but Dr. Buckingham did note at the end of his decision that the violation is not a criminal offence:
However, the Tribunal wishes to inform Trans-Porcs that this violation is not a criminal offence. After five years, Trans-Porcs will be entitled to apply to the Minister to have the violation removed from its record, in accordance with section 23 of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act:
23. (1) Any notation of a violation shall, on application by the person who committed the violation, be removed from any records that may be kept by the Minister respecting that person after the expiration of five years from
(a) where the notice of violation contained a warning, the date the notice was served, or

(b) in any other case, the payment of any debt referred to in subsection 15(1),

unless the removal from the record would not in the opinion of the Minister be in the public interest or another notation of a violation has been recorded by the Minister in respect of that person after that date and has not been removed in accordance with this subsection.
Read the decision at: Trans-Porcs B.M. v. Canada (CFIA).