Transporting Sheep and Lambs

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 Every season in Alberta brings a variety of extreme weather conditions. Anyone moving sheep or lambs needs to make sure every animal is healthy enough to be transported and that every animal is cared for no matter what the weather.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recommends that anyone involved in handling or transporting animals know the appropriate measures to protect animals from the effects of extreme temperatures. Every person transporting animals, by any means, in Canada is legally obligated to ensure that the entire trip – including loading, transporting, and unloading – does not result in injury, suffering or death to any animal. Regulations apply to anyone involved in the transportation process, including owners and producers, processors, auction markets, assembly yards, feedlots, shippers and drivers.

Being transported is not an everyday experience for livestock. Extra measures should be taken to protect every animal from undue stress and include:
  • Handling animals in a manner to minimize stress. Efficient and safe handling and loading facilities ensure animal and human safety as well as save time.
  • Lambs and smaller sheep should be hauled separately or the vehicle should have divider gates to reduce the possibility of trampling or packing into corners. Clean bedding or rubber mats improve footing and help keep animals clean.
  • Providing sufficient ventilation in vehicles at all times. In summer this is particularly critical when the vehicle is stopped or animals are waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Reduce the number of animals in the vehicle. Park vehicles with animals in the shade and out of direct sunlight. Short stops prevent the build-up of heat in particularly in the middle of the vehicle.
  • Monitoring weather conditions closely. Watch road conditions. Adjust ventilation in the vehicle accordingly.
  • Delaying loading and transport during extremely hot or extremely cold periods.
Producers and transporters should be familiar with the National Farm Animal Care Council's Code of Practice at: Look for the recommended code for the care and handling of farm animals during transportation.

Canadian producers and transporters are committed to treating animals humanely. In the rare circumstances where animals are not well-cared for, the CFIA will take enforcement actions which may include license suspensions, issuance of charges, fines and possible prosecutions under various federal regulations. For more information visit for livestock transport requirements in Canada that include transportation practices, fitness for transport and special provisions.

For additional information on caring for your flock:
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This document is maintained by Amrit Matharu.
This information published to the web on June 1, 2016.