Incidents Involving Goats at Ontario Sales Barns and Assembly Yards

In 2016, approximately 63,000 goats moved through Livestock Community Sales Barns in Ontario. Any animal that appears to be compromised, diseased or abnormal is examined by an OMAFRA veterinary inspector. If an animal is deemed unsuitable for sale through the regular auction process, the veterinary inspector issues a "disposition" against that animal. Dispositions are defined in OMAFRA's Guide to Uniform Disposition of Compromised Livestock and include:

  • return to consignor, whereby the animal(s) in question will be returned to the owner,
  • ring announcement, whereby all buyers are made aware of any condition that the animal might have, such as recent surgery or ring worm,
  • direct to slaughter, where the animal must be slaughtered within a certain timeframe (usually 24 hours) and,
  • euthanize.

The Guide is based on Provincial and Federal law, as well as the various Codes of Practice that are published for each animal species.

In 2016 there were 233 dispositions made against goats (this does not include goats that were found dead or euthanized by community sales barn staff). There were 186 goats ordered direct to slaughter, 46 dispositions ordered euthanasia, and 13 goats returned to consignor. The most common reasons for dispositions against goats are lameness, low body condition score (BCS) and mastitis.

Lameness is broken into five classes, with Class 1 being minor and Class 5 being severe (inability to rise without assistance, inability to remain standing). Any animal that shows Class 3, 4 or 5 lameness will be euthanized at the sales barn. Any animal with Class 2 lameness with no other conditions will be sent direct to slaughter. Any animal that has Class 2 lameness and any other condition will be euthanized.

BCS in goats is also broken into 5 categories, with BCS 1 being emaciated and BCS 5 being obese. Any animal with BCS 1 or lower will be euthanized. BCS of greater than 1 and less than 2 with no other conditions will be sent direct to slaughter. If an animal has a BCS of less than 2 and other conditions are present, the animal will be euthanized.

Producers are strongly encouraged to review the Guidelines for Transporting Cattle, Sheep and Goats distributed by the Food Inspection Branch, OMAFRA to all goat milk producers. For additional copies of the guidelines please contact Phillip Wilman at 519-826-3746 or

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: Phillip Wilman, Food Inspection Branch, OMAFRA
Dr. Jocelyn Jansen, Animal Health and Welfare Branch, OMAFRA
Creation Date: 28 August 2017
Last Reviewed: 31 August 2017