September 2021

The CHDC has recently obtained documents through Access to Information regarding the export of 114 horses for slaughter from the Winnipeg International Airport to Japan on June 21, 2021.

The horses on this flight were described as ‘’crossbreds’’ born in 2019 with an average weight of 630 kgs.

According to the Inspector Report, with the horses already loaded on the aircraft and the door about to close, an error was made during refueling. Attempts to correct it were apparently unsuccessful, resulting in a 3.5 hour departure delay.

The Humane Transportation of Animals form records the total transport time (including ground transport from the feedlot to the Winnipeg airport) to be 31.75 hours, and as stated in the Inspector Report, exceeded the maximum 28 hours allowed without food, water and rest.  No non-compliance was recorded on the form.

From the Inspector report notes:

“As the aircraft was about to close its doors and depart, fueling was performed and apparently during the process. There was human error on the amount of fuel and aircraft tanks filled. Several attempts to correct the error and start the engines were aborted and this resulted in a 3.5 hours delay in departure. The plane finally took off at 5:25 a.m… Therefore, from farm to departure at YWG, approximately 15.5 hours had elapsed.  … the total time from farm to ________ was 30.75 hrs. which is above the HT regulations for horses at 28 hours”


Although the Inspector report records the time to be 30.75 hours, both times exceed the 28 hour time limit. 

Astonishingly, comments in the notes absolve the CFIA and exporter of any blame, stating the cause of the delay was beyond their control!

“The delay was as a result of the 3.5 hrs. failure to depart at YWG, which was out of CFIA and owners control”. – From the Report of the Inspector

Previous horse flights on this route in 2021 have ranged from over 13 hours to 14 hours, 47 minutes in duration, including a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska that varied between 1 to 2 hours.  

Surely the CFIA and exporter are aware of this and understood that by not unloading the horses for food, water and rest they would not be in compliance with section 152.2 (1)(2)© of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR).  

Health of Animals Regulations

152.2 (1) No person shall load, confine or transport an animal in or unload an animal from a conveyance or container, or cause one to be so loaded, confined, transported or unloaded, unless the person provides the animal with feed, safe water and rest at intervals that do not exceed the following

(c) 28 hours for equines and porcines,_c._296/page-20.html#h-548214

In order for horses to be exported to Japan for slaughter a completed Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan form (HA1138) must accompany each shipment.  Each horse must undergo a series of blood tests to determine their eligibility and any having non-negative results are to be removed from the list. 

  1. “There have been no outbreaks of equine viral arteritis, equine encephalomyelitis, equine infectious anemia, equine influenza, equine rhinopneumonitis, strangles, equine paratyphoid and equine piroplasmosis within (3) months preceding the exporting date in the breeding farm or the keeping premises of the exported horses.” – From the Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan form HA1138

On May 25, 2021 an Animal Health Inspector visited the feedlot premises to draw blood from 134 horses who had been selected for export to Japan.  The horses were restrained in a tilting hydraulic chute system and two vials were collected from the jugular vein of each.

There were three non-negative test reactors for Equine Piroplasmosis and equine paratyphoid, making these horses ineligible for export to Japan. The eligible horses were scheduled to enter pre-embarkation isolation on June 13, 2021, were inspected on June 18 and found to be in good health although lameness was observed in one horse who was ‘’not expected to leave the farm’’.

According to the owner, the horses were loaded onto six trailers from 2 4 p.m. on June 20.  The trucks started arriving at the airport at 9:30 p.m. and the horses began to be loaded into crates shortly thereafter.

Truck #1- 19 horses

Truck #2- 19 horses

Truck #3 – 19 horses

Truck #4 – 18 horses

Truck #5 – 20 horses

Truck #6 – 19 horses

There were thirty-three crates in all, 18 with 3 horses and 15 crates with 4 horses each.

The aircraft was cleaned and disinfected onsite prior to the loading of the crates, one of the requirements for export:

Source: Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan

On June 22, confirmation was received that the horses arrived safe and healthy at their final destination. 

Description of Animals from the Veterinary Health Certificate Export Horses to Japan (HA1138)

Farm instructed non negative reactors are not eligible for export to Japan.

Horses scheduled for export must be in isolation for 7 days prior to leaving the farm. The day they enter isolation is considered day 0.

Humane Transportation of Animals form records the total transport time to be 31.75 hours, no non-compliance is recorded.

Thirty-three crates were used to transport the 114 horses on this flight, 18 with 3 horses and 15 crates with 4 horses each

P1 Report of Inspector

P2 Report of Inspector

Cleaning and Disinfection of the aircraft is a condition of the Veterinary Export Certificate Horses to Japan (HA1138)

One of the trailers carrying horses for this flight en route to the Winnipeg Airport on June 20, 2021

Photo credit:  Manitoba Animal Save

 All documents can be viewed as received here and appear as received, with portions exempted under sections of the Access to Information Act.


The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has been investigating the air transport of horses to Japan for slaughter and making available their findings since learning of them in 2010.

In 2018, CHDC took the government to court over violations to the Health of Animals Act involving the exportation of horses as air cargo to Japan and South Korea for slaughter. Unfortunately, we lost the case but launched an appeal shortly thereafter and are presently waiting to hear when our appeal will be heard.  You can learn more about this on our website.

For more information about horse slaughter and the live horse shipments to Japan and South Korea please visit our websiteblog,  archived blog  and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.