October 2022

Recently received documents, obtained through Access to Information, provide more evidence of cruel and callous disregard for the welfare of horses destined for slaughter.

On March 8, 2021, twenty-six yearling fillies were transported to a federally licensed establishment currently slaughtering horses. A bay filly with severely overgrown hooves and barely able to walk was on the trailer and, despite her compromised condition, the records show she was not segregated, she was not loaded last on the trailer and the first unloaded, and no additional bedding was provided.

“No measures were taken to prevent suffering, injury or death during loading, confinement, transport or unloading {she had pre-existing mobility issues, she was not last on or first off, there was no extra bedding supplied); and, she was transported to an assembly centre for 9 days before being humanely killed at slaughter (even though this was the nearest place, she was held for 9 days.”                                     

                   – Inspector Non-Compliance Report Attachment

Videos  taken at the slaughter plant show this filly had tremendous difficulty walking.

She bore an unidentified brand on her left shoulder, one seen on horses coming from (redacted) feedlot in the USA owned by the (redacted). However, when a photo of the horse was shown to the brand inspector he was unable to identify it with confidence.

There is confusion over her origin, however, and despite numerous requests for her Equine Information Document (EID) and US export certificate, if applicable, it appears her EID was never provided.

We learn that she was not slaughtered immediately or even soon after her arrival at the plant, but instead remained there for 9 days before being slaughtered on March 17, 2021.

As requested, all four legs were retained to measure the extreme length of her hooves and inspect her joints. Remodeling of joints, arthritis, atrophy of muscle and tendons were observed.

For nine days, this year-old filly suffered at the slaughter facility, under the purview of the CFIA, with hooves overgrown so long that the pressure on her tendons must have been unbearable. To get to her pen, she was made to walk on grossly misshapen feet. Prior to this, she had suffered the stress of being loaded for transport purposes, then unloaded. She had no extra bedding provided for her. Neither was she segregated from other horses. 

The CFIA took no enforcement action. It is unlikely that the youngster received treatment for pain during her stay at the slaughter establishment or prior. She would certainly have received no anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, which are prohibited from entering the human food supply. In fact, because of European Union regulations regarding food safety, this bay filly couldn’t be treated.

And so she suffered.

She suffered at the hands of humans who sent her to slaughter, and she suffered under the umbrella of those who should have recognized her pain and had the authority to demand her release, but didn’t.

This filly’s story illustrates clearly the cruelty inherent in the horse slaughter industry.

These animals deserve so much better. What will our country do about it?

Additional details regarding this incident are included in our report.

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