W5 investigates Canada’s controversial practice of flying live horses around the world to be slaughtered for fresh, raw, horsemeat. The campaign to stop the live horse export has ramped up with the celebrity endorsement of Canadian singer Jann Arden, who calls it the ‘sinister side of agriculture.’

Please contact your Member of Parliament to comment on this trade.  Find your MP here.

It may be hard for some to believe that tens of thousands of horses are routinely slaughtered in Canada for human consumption.

Most of  their meat is shipped to Japan, the European Union and other countries.

A small amount of this meat is consumed in Canada and some is shipped to the United States.

This barbaric practice has been stopped in the United States since 2007 due to government defunding of equine slaughterhouse inspections; however, horses from the United States continue to be shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for human consumption.

In addition, Canada allows for the transportation of live horses to Japan and South Korea to be slaughtered for human consumption and, unfortunately, the transportation of horses destined for slaughter within Canada, and by air, is far from humane.  


All Canadians concerned about the protection of horses:  please sign this crucial petition, sponsored by MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and supported by numerous Members of Parliament.  Speak out now against the live exports of our Gentle Giants for slaughter.  Help get this cruel practice stopped!

The petition reads:


Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • Large draft horses over 17 hands high are air-shipped annually from Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg airports to Japan for human consumption;
  • Three to four horses are loaded into crates smaller than a single horse stall;
  • Numerous horses in these crates lack sufficient head clearance, with ears protruding through crate roofs;
  • Flights are 10.5 to 13.5 hours long, with additional hours spent for ground transportation and the loading and unloading process;
  • During this time, horses have no access to food, water or rest;
  • Deaths and injuries occur on these flights, as well as broken crates and one known incident of damage to aircraft fuselage;
  • Horses air-shipped to Japan for human consumption are usually purpose-bred in Canada;
  • Their well-being can be compromised due to lack of veterinary and farrier care and withholding of drugs prohibited from the human food chain;
  • Scientific evidence shows that horses suffer physically and psychologically during long-distance transport and during loading and unloading;
  • Canadian animal welfare laws have no jurisdiction over the treatment of these horses when they reach Japan;
  • A 2019 Nanos poll revealed that 69% of Canadian respondents are opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption; and
  • Public awareness about this issue is increasing, with media interest and celebrity involvement.

Please note that the petition can be signed only by Canadian citizens, in Canada and abroad, or by residents of Canada.

Please go here to sign.

Majority of Canadians Oppose Horse Slaughter

  • A Nanos Poll was taken across Canada in June 2019 by Ottawa, ON lobbying firm, The Parliamentary Group.
  • Findings show that over two-thirds of Canadians say they are uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with the export of horse meat from Canada for human consumption.
  • Nearly seven in ten Canadians say they would most support stopping the slaughtering of horses in Canada for human consumption rather than continue the policy.
  • Canadians are over four times more likely to say they would have a more positive impression rather than a more negative impression of a politician that supported a ban in Canada on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

The full report can be read here.


Jann Arden has created a campaign to help in the fight against the live draft horse shipments to Japan.  You can find more info at her web site.  Here you can order various products to show your support for the horses.

"Canada should be leading the world when it comes to animal welfare— and yet we drop the ball in so many ways. We ship thousands upon thousands of live horses for the overseas meat trade and grotesquely fail with their treatment. Often in tight cages of three or four - for days."

"This is an amazing, important organization... donate if you can. Even a toonie makes a difference."  


"People are surprised to learn that horses are being slaughtered in Canada [for human consumption].

Perhaps even worse, they are being exported in crammed conditions, to Japan [and South Korea] to be slaughtered for meat.

Horses that may have been someone's pet."  

Rebeka Breder
Breder Law Corporation
Vancouver, British Columbia

“One of my bigger cases now is acting for the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. We are suing the federal government for violating animal transportation laws.

This is a groundbreaking case as it is the first time an animal protection organization has sued the government over the way it transports animals."


"Donation made in honour of our dear beloved friend, Jill, who passed away in Alberta. And to all the other beautiful horses, like my friend Danny, who have blessed our lives. Please help if you can:"

We welcome Donna Weiss as another celebrity supporter!  Donna is an American singer and songwriter, best known for co-writing the Kim Carnes 1981 hit "Bette Davis Eyes" with Jackie deShannon.  The song won the Grammy for Song of the Year and Record of the Year

Donna guested on Joe Cocker's album Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and has also written songs for Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Cher, Dusty Springfield as well as numerous other artists.

Donna wrote this soul-stirring tribute to a horse she once knew:


There’s a horse in the field by the meadow

And he ran til his front legs were broken

Leaving life in the dust as a token

They shot the earth from his eyes

He stumbled on air he was riding

And screamed though his heartstrings were broken

He took one last look then it happened

He fell like a mountain to heaven

Who we are

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is a  collective of people, and national groups, who have joined forces in order to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in Canada.   As well, the CHDC is lobbying to ban the inhumane transport and export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose.

Nous sommes un collectif de personnes et de groupes nationaux qui ont unis leurs forces afin d’obtenir l’interdiction au Canada de l’abattage des équidés destinés à la consommation humaine, ainsi que de l’exportation de chevaux vivants vers d’autres pays à des fins d’abattage.

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Please share this site on Social Media, and with  friends who own horses but may not be aware of the horse slaughter industry in Canada, with friends who may be taking conjugated equine estrogens for menopause, with doctors who prescribe CEE drugs, and with any friends considering taking their horse to a sale barn or an auction.

Whistle blowers are invited to contact the CHDC regarding violations occurring during horse slaughter or transport to slaughter.  Are you a retired CFIA veterinarian, an ex-slaughter house employee, a transport driver or feedlot operator with knowledge of animal abuse, or other violations? Are you a track veterinarian who has evidence of horses "run" on phenylbutazone or other drugs, and then shipped to slaughter? Anonymity guaranteed!