With the help of a copy of the new Certificate obtained through Access to Information, we have finally been able to verify that horses from the United States are fair game to end up on Japanese dinner plates in the form of basashi (horse sushi).

This completely contradicts what is posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) website: “Japan requires that horses being exported to Japan originate from Canada”.

The contradiction comes as no surprise. For instance, the CFIA routinely claims that “inspectors are present for every air shipment to certify the export and verify that horses are fit to travel and will be transported humanely”. Time and time again, evidence has shown this claim to be false: humane treatment is not in the equation. Add to the suffering prevalent in feedlots, where they are overfed and have no shelter from the elements or veterinary care, horses for the export market suffer during ground and air transportation. Forced into small wooden crates at Canadian airports, three to four large draft horses standing together must remain so until they are unloaded in Japan. They will have received no food, water or rest for up to 28 hours or more.

At this time we can clarify, despite what the CFIA website claims, that the way has been paved for U.S. horses to enter the live export slaughter market, provided that they are kept in Canada for at least six (6) months prior to the start of pre-export isolation. 

That’s over six months of feedlot suffering before the grueling journey to Japan for slaughter begins.

Previously, we have been informed by CFIA officials that the end purpose of horses exported to Japan is not stated on the “Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan” form (HA1138) that is required for horses being exported for permanent entry into Japan.

“The current export certificate with Japan is for permanent entry of live horses into Japan, and does not specify the end purpose of the export. The certificate requirements are that the animals be examined and tested by a CFIA veterinarian to confirm that the animals are in good health and are disease-free.”

                      Dr. Jaspinder Komal, former Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada

The CFIA has since been in negotiations with Japan and has amended the conditions of the export certificate, effective June 6, 2022. The purpose of the export must now be provided (e.g. “For Breeding”, “For Fattening”, etc.).

On December 16, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued mandate letters to his Ministers. The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, was informed that the exports of live horses for slaughter are to be banned! This has not yet been implemented.

Until a ban is actually in place, phone calls, letters and emails to Members of Parliament and to the Agriculture Minister are needed; they can easily be sent using the links below:

To write to your MP: www.horseshit.ca  or https://bit.ly/3AutWgn

To write to Minister Bibeau: https://bit.ly/3wzf5Pp

For more information about horse slaughter and the live horse shipments to Japan and South Korea please visit our website, blog, archived blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo.

Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan (HA1138) – last amended March 28, 2012

Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan (HA1138) – last amended June 6, 2022