On November 8th, the CHDC filed official complaints to the CFIA and Transport Canada with respect to the transport of slaughter-bound horses via air cargo through our legal counsel MW Law Offices of Vancouver, BC.

In his complaint to the CFIA and the Superintendent of Aviation Enforcement at Transport Canada, our counsel, Nicholas Weigelt, details the violations of the Health of Animals Act pertaining to horses being unable to stand in a natural position and lack of segregation of horses over 14 hands high.

Also, in the complaint to Transport Canada, the risks of shipping large draft horses in breakable, confined crates is brought to the attention of the agency.

These complaints are filed subsequent to the CHDC’s news release of October 18, 2012 “CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan” (see below) announcing that video footage (see below) was captured of draft horses being loaded and shipped from Calgary International Airport for live shipment to Japan.

Please read the complaint to the CFIA here  and Transport Canada here.

CHDC supporters are asked to write courteous letters to the CFIA and Transport Canada to help bring this matter to further attention.  (Contact information provided below.)

Thank you,

For the horses!


CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan

October 18, 2012, Calgary, AB – Footage taken of Alberta horses being shipped live to Japan for slaughter shows that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is violating their own standards set forth in the Health of Animals Regulations.  The Regulations prohibit the transportation of all animals under conditions that would expose the animals to undue injury or suffering.

The 2012 footage shows horses in a feedlot being loaded with electric prods into transport trucks, transported to the Calgary International Airport and being crated in wooden crates so small they cannot stand in their natural position, in violation of Section 142 of the Health of Animals Regulations (“No person shall transport or cause to be transported animals in a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel unless each animal is able to stand in its natural position without coming into contact with a deck or roof.”).

Some horses were even being crated together, even though it is in violation of Section 141.8 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which states that horses over 14 hands high must be segregated for air transport.

Canadian draft horses from various producers are routinely live shipped to Japan for slaughter from the Calgary and Winnipeg International Airports. On arrival in Japan, horses are transported to a feedlot; once they reach desired weight they are slaughtered for horse sashimi, which is considered to be a delicacy in Japan. The meat must be eaten within three days because it is highly perishable; according to the 2008 Alberta Horse Welfare Report, each Canadian horse is worth approximately $20,000.

“Footage shows large horses overcrowded (not segregated) into wooden transport crates, often unable to stand in their natural position for a long journey to Japan, in clear violation of two of the CFIA’s own regulations”, says Sinikka Crosland, executive director with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. These transport conditions not only are inhumane but also are likely to lead to injuries and potential deaths during transport.

“Once again we see the CFIA turn a blind eye and choose to protect industry profits rather than do their job”, says Crosland.  “The CFIA’s mandate is both to protect human health and monitor animal welfare.  We have recently seen them fail to protect the public from contaminated meat and now we have clear evidence of them failing to follow their own regulations when it comes to live transport of horses for meat.”   https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ji5n8siQGAw


Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Email: Ritz.G@parl.gc.ca
Website: http://www.gerryritzmp.com/
Tel:  613-995-7080;  Fax: 613-996-8472

Mr. George Da Pont, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency 1400 Merivale Rd., Tower 1, Floor 6, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Email: George.DaPont@inspection.gc.ca
Web:  http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1297964599443/1297965645317
Tel: 613-773-6000; Fax: 613-773-6060

Dr. Ian Alexander, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, CFIA
Email: Ian.Alexander@inspection.gc.ca
Web:  http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1297964599443/1297965645317
Tel: 613-773-7472;  Fax 613-228-6637

Dr. Martine Dubuc, Chief Food Safety Officer, CFIA
Email: Martine.Dubuc@inspection.gc.ca
Web:  http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1297964599443/1297965645317
Tel: 613-773-5722;  Fax 613-773-5797

Dr. Nicole Cormier is a CFIA Humane Transportation of Animals Program Specialist

Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport
Email: denis.lebel@parl.gc.ca

CFIA Regional Office
Alberta South Floor 1, Room 102
110 Country Hills Landing NW
Calgary, Alberta T3K 5P3
Tel: 403.299.7680
Fax: 403.221.3296
Email: paul.littlewood@inspection.gc.ca

Transport Canada
1st Floor, MacDonald Building
P.O. Box 8550
344 Edmonton Street,
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0P6
Attention: Jim Welwood, Superintendent, Aviation Enforcement
Email: James.welwood@tc.gc.ca

Transport Canada General Mailbox: