The Government of Canada is cracking down on those who mistreat and improperly transport livestock by more than doubling current fines - the first increase in over 10 years.

Effective immediately, administrative monetary penalties of up to $10,000 can be imposed, more than doubling the previous maximum penalty of $4,000, on those who violate the Health of Animals Act.

"The agriculture industry knows that a healthy farm and processing business begins with healthy animals and while the majority handles and transports animals safely, a few need to do better," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Our Government is providing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the tools it needs to impose tougher fines and improve animal welfare."

The CFIA will now be able to impose fines up to a maximum of $10,000 instead of $4,000. The CFIA will now also have the ability to look back into the past five years, instead of three years, of the offender's history. If an offender commits his second very serious violation within five years, the CFIA will now have the ability to impose a fine of up to $15,000, instead of the previous maximum of $6,000.

The penalty system was developed as an efficient, effective enforcement tool. Penalties may be issued for violations of the Health of Animals Act, which includes requirements for animal welfare during transport.

The CFIA continues to work with animal welfare experts and industry leaders to update the Health of Animals Regulations governing livestock transportation to reflect the latest science and industry practices.