The CHDC is releasing 2014 data (to November) from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on horse slaughter including live U.S. imports, live exports to Japan for slaughter, and horsemeat exports by country.  Continue reading for our analysis of the data, and what you can do to speak out for the horses.

Robust, healthy horses awaiting slaughter at Bouvry
Exports – photo courtesy Tierschutzbund & Animals’

Total number of horses to slaughter in Canada to November 2014 is 61,209, down 6.9% from 65,428 in November 2013.

Overall, the number of horses to slaughter continue to decline since the highest year in 2008 when the number totalled 113,064.  That year saw a dramatic increase due to the closure of all U.S. plants in 2007.

The number of imported U.S. horses for slaughter to November 2014 is 37,422, or 61% of all horses slaughtered in Canada to November.  In 2013, 42,130 horses were imported from the U.S. for slaughter in Canada; 59% of the 71,961 total.  The previous year was higher with 68% of horses from the U.S.

Live Exports for Slaughter

Japan has increased their live exports by 286% for 2012 over 2013, and up another 11% to November 2014.  The number of horses was 1179 in 2012, then 6635 horses in 2013 – up 562%.  To November 2014, it’s 6,976, up another 5% over 2013.  Japan is the only country that live ships horses for slaughter from Canada.  (The UK is noted as shipping one horse in 2014).

Horse Meat Exports

For total Canadian horse meat exports, the latest figures show the total amount to be $72.8 million as of November, and the estimated amount for the entire year will be just under $80 million.  The total for 2013 was $80.5 million.  AAFC also reports that horse meat exports quantities total 12.4 million kilograms to November 2014, closing in on the 14.5 million kilograms reported in 2013.  A separate table from AAFC, broken down by horse meat cuts, shows Japan with 2.0 million kilograms, Kazakhstan with 1.8 million kilograms, then France with 1.6 million, followed by Belgium, Switzerland and Finland with 1.0 million, 0.95 million and 0.2 million respectively.  For boneless cuts, Kazakhstan leads, followed by Japan, Belgium and France.

Japan was #2 for horsemeat exports for 2013 and has moved up to #1 in 2014 (to November)

Switzerland, who in recent years was consistently at the top on the list, has moved down to #3 in 2014.  We expect that supermarket chain Migros’ decision to stop the sale of horse meat from Alberta based Bouvry Exports (due to animal welfare issues) has affected this change.

The same 6 countries remain in the top 6 spots for horse meat exports in 2013 and 14.  Their positions have changed year over year:  1. Japan (non EU – was 2. In 2013); 2. France (3. In 2013); 3. Switzerland (non EU – was 1. In 2013); 4. Belgium (4. In 2013); Kazakhstan (non EU – 5. In 2013); and 6. USA (6. In 2013).

Countries with increased imports include Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Vietnam, and Macao.  Countries with less imports include Netherlands, Finland, and Egypt.

What You Can Do

Reading these statistics, it’s difficult to fathom all the individual lives that were taken violently in Canada’s 5 slaughter plants.  Here’s how you can voice your concern.

Japan has become Canada’s #1 country for horse meat exports, as well is the only country shipping live horses for slaughter, with alarming increased shipments in recent years.  The CHDC has reported several times on live shipments of horses out of Calgary International Airport.  Find our videos on YouTube.  Find our blog postings on live shipments to Japan here.

At this time we are providing contact information for raising awareness about our new #1 business partner for horses and horsemeat – Japan.  Please find below links to government and animal welfare agencies in Japan.  As well, you can reach our Canadian government through the links provided.

Who to contact in Japan:

Japan Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan
Godochosha No. 5, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)3-3581-3351

Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

Japan Animal Welfare Society

The Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare

In Japan, the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals (Act No. 105 of October 1, 1973) (amended in 1999 and 2005) stipulates that “no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty to animals without due course”, and in particular, criminalises cruelty to all mammals, birds, and reptiles possessed by persons; as well as cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, pigeons, domestic rabbits, chickens, and domestic ducks regardless of whether they are in captivity.

Also, please contact Japan’s Ambassador to Canada:

In Canada contact:

Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health (Minister responsible for the CFIA)
Tel: 613.996.9778; Fax: 613.996.0785

Dr. Bruce Archibald, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
1400 Merivale Rd., Tower 1, Floor 6, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Web Tel: 613.773.6000; Fax: 613.773.6060

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, CFIA
Web Tel: 613.773.7472;  Fax 613.228.6637

Dr. Martine Dubuc, Chief Food Safety Officer, CFIA
Web Tel: 613.773.5722;  Fax 613.773.5797

CFIA Animal Health Offices

Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Web Tel:  613.995.7080;  Fax: 613.996.8472