Farm Animal Welfare Program

The Farm Animal Welfare Program enforces the farm animal welfare provisions of the Nova Scotia Animal Protection Act and sections of the Criminal Code of Canada. If you witness a farm animal in distress, you can report the incident and animal welfare inspectors will respond.

The program also provides opportunities for you to become an approved foster farm or livestock transporter.

Farm animals

Farm Animal Welfare Program helps ensure the safety and wellbeing of animals raised for agricultural purposes (including cattle, horse, sheep, swine, poultry, yaks, goats, cervids, wild boar, bison, buffalo, llamas, alpacas, foxes, chinchillas, mink, rabbits, waterfowl, donkeys, mules and gamefowl).

Other animals can be designated as farm animals by the Minister of Agriculture.

Transportation of animals

Transportation of farm animals is federally regulated under the Health of Animals Regulations.

Farm animal welfare inspectors

Farm animal welfare inspectors respond to reports of farm animals in distress, including reports of animals that are:

  • in need of adequate care, food, water, shelter, or in need of reasonable protection from heat or cold appropriate to the animal
  • injured, sick, in pain or suffering undue hardship, anxiety, privation or neglect
  • deprived of adequate ventilation, space, veterinary care or medical treatment
  • abused
  • subject to cosmetic surgery as defined in Section 27 of the Animal Protection Act
  • kept in conditions that are unsanitary or unsafe so as to impair the animal's health, safety or wellbeing
  • kept in conditions that contravene the standards of care prescribed by regulations
  • subject to, or being trained for animal fighting
  • subject to other circumstances prescribed by the regulations
  • abandoned by its owner or caregiver in a manner that's likely to cause distress

Farm animal welfare inspectors use the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Codes of Practice as part of their assessments of farm animal welfare. Owners and caregivers should review the NFACC Codes of Practice for the species in their care.

Reporting a farm animal in distress

To report a farm animal in distress, contact the Farm Animal Welfare Program.

If an animal is in critical distress after hours, contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or your local police. "Critical distress" means distress in an animal where immediate veterinary treatment can't prolong the animal's life or prolonging the animal's life would result in the animal suffering.

To report an incident, you'll need to provide your name and contact information, and details about the incident (including date, time, location, severity, animals involved and name of the owner).

Your information is kept confidential and will only be shared if required by a court. Anonymous reports are accepted, but they can limit the actions that an inspector can take.

Reporting a pet in distress

To report a pet in distress, contact the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (SPCA).

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