CANADIAN GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT ALARMINGLY DEFICIENT:

2018 CFIA Audits Reveal Flagrant Violations of Horse Transport and Slaughter Procedures

For over fifteen years, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has attempted to illustrate the cruelty and sometimes criminality of the horse slaughter industry through numerous reports, investigations and videos all of which can be found on our web site and youtube channel.

When the 2018 audits became available, we were dismayed to note that during this time little has changed.

The 2018 Audits were obtained through Canada’s Access to Information and a large amount of the information was redacted to protect the industry and third party involvement.

However, what wasn’t redacted was enough to conclude that no matter how the Canadian government attempts to tweak the rules and regulations in order to placate industry partners and shareholders, the same concerns spanning well over a decade and a half are still apparent.

The old adage ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’ appears to be the mantra of our regulating bodies.

The documents include the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s audits of federally inspected horse slaughter plants in Canada from January 1 to December 31, 2018. Records from establishment 506 Bouvry Exports Calgary Ltd., Fort Mcleod, Alberta and establishment 076 Viande Richelieu, Massueville, Quebec were provided and included Corrective Action Requests (CARs), Inspection Reports, Humane Transportation of Animals forms, Verification Reports, Worksheets and others, along with a number of photos.

They show:

  • Transporters’ ignorance that there are regulations in place when conveying a load of horses from one place to another despite similar regulations being in effect since 1977.
  • Controversy regarding the Equine Information Documents including falsification by shippers and lack of enforcement by slaughter plant personnel allowing drugged horse meat to enter the food chain.
  • Insufficient controls and testing protocols with respect to drug testing.
  • Compromised horses still being shipped including horses unable to stand on all four legs

    and diseased horses also being shipped.

  • Insufficient controls in the slaughter plants’ meat preparation areas contrary to Canada’s

    Meat Inspection Regulations including contamination from horse feces, urine and blood and human spit.

Read the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition summary of the 2018 CFIA documents obtained through Access To Information (ATI) Act by going here.

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"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."

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Highlights of the CHDC lawsuit against the CFIA and the Minister of Agriculture regarding live draft horse shipments to Japan for slaughter for human consumption.

Update on the CHDC lawsuit against the CFIA:

Unfortunately, on December 10, 2019, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) lost the horse slaughter lawsuit against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding the live draft horse shipments to Japan for slaughter.

However, an appeal was subsequently filed and on October 16, 2020, the Memorandum of Fact and Law (our lawyer's argument) was submitted to the Federal Court of Appeal.  The CFIA then responded with their own argument. 

As of December 2020, we are currently waiting for the Court to set our appeal date.

This is what the CHDC’s lawyer Rebeka Breder had to say in December 2019:

"The court found that the CFIA does not have to follow its regulations and that it has the discretion to decide how to enforce them. We strongly disagree.

In this particular case, the law is abundantly clear that inspections of all horses must be done (by CFIA inspectors) prior to all shipments, and that all shipments must be certified as being compliant with the law.

For years, these inspectors have been certifying these shipments, even though horses were being shipped contrary to the law (ie, crammed horses into small crates, instead of being separated to avoid harming each other; and not providing enough headroom)."

 

December 10th, 2019. Rebeka Breder writes:

"We are incredibly disappointed to learn that we lost the horse slaughter lawsuit against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  The court found that the CFIA does not have to follow its regulations and that it has the discretion to decide how to enforce them. We strongly disagree.

In this particular case, the law is abundantly clear that inspections of all horses must be done (by CFIA inspectors) prior to all shipments, and that all shipments must be certified as being compliant with the law.

For years, these inspectors have been certifying these shipments, even though horses were being shipped contrary to the law (ie, crammed horses into small crates, instead of being separated to avoid harming each other; and not providing enough headroom).

In 2018 the CHDC sued the CFIA.  This is the original press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CHDC SUES CFIA FOR OVERCROWDING OF HORSES EXPORTED FOR SLAUGHTER

September 6, 2018 · by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

For Immediate Release September 6, 2018

No More Horsing Around – Animal Protection Group Sues CFIA for Overcrowding of Horses Exported for Slaughter

Vancouver, B.C.: 

The not-for-profit Animal Protection group, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), filed for judicial review in the Federal Court.  The lawsuit challenges violations of two sections of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) and names the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food as the respondent.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Health of Animals Act and the HAR.

“The law in regard to the live export of horses for slaughter is clear. Sections 141(8) and 142(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations say that horses over 14 hands in height (the size of a large pony) must be segregated, and horses must be able to stand in a natural position. These provisions exist to ensure the humane transport of horses, yet the CFIA consistently violates the law by allowing the overcrowding of horses and by allowing horses’ heads to touch the tops of crates, when live horses are shipped by air cargo to Japan for slaughter” states the lawyer for the CHDC, Rebeka Breder.

Since 2012, the CHDC has studied conditions under which live horses are exported to Japan for human consumption.  Photographic and video evidence has consistently revealed that even large draft horses have been crammed together for export purposes, sometimes as many as three or four per wooden crate, and that the ears of very tall horses have been seen to breach the netting covering the tops of crates. There is also evidence of horses dying and injuring themselves.

“This legal challenge certainly pits David against Goliath,” observes Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of CHDC.  “But the CFIA is not above the law.  The government has certain legal and ethical obligations, which cannot be swept under the rug.”

Please consider donating to the CHDC to support this legal challenge.

For more information, contact:
Breder Law (attention: Rebeka Breder)
Solicitor for the Applicant (CHDC)
Phone: (604)449-0215
E-mail: rbreder@brederlaw.com

OR

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Phone: 250-833-1964
E-mail:  sinikka@defendhorsescanada.org

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For the horses. 🐎
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Tonight.
Canadians- if you haven't signed please consider doing so. This is a government petition, sponsored by MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. @beynate @defendhorsescan
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https://regina.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2149176&jwsource=twi

.@jannarden speaks to @CTVW5 about the practice of exporting live Canadian horses on airplanes to be slaughtered abroad for human consumption. Watch 'Flight Animals' this Saturday at 7 p.m. #ctv #flightanimals

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