This page is dedicated to Tam for first getting the word out about these shipments and doggedly pursuing the truth.
RIP, sweet Tam, and the horses thank you.
Since 2008, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has been following the international trade in horses for slaughter and has been working to end it. This trade is inhumane, unethical, and problematic for the health of humans. Draft horses, known as the Gentle Giants, are live shipped in wooden crates to Japan and, occassionaly to South Korea for slaughter for human consumption.
For a history of this vile trade, please go here.
From 2014 to 2019 approximately 27,700 draft horses have been live exported by air primarily to Japan for slaughter. Over TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND!
Many people are asking, where are the horses coming from. There are a few sources feeding this trade. Ex-PMU farms, horse auctions and those who are purposely breeding for this trade.
These horses are taken to filthy feedlots to be fattened up for the Japanese market where the fatter the horse, the better, as the customers prefer their meat marbled, which, apparently, this overfeeding creates.
More on the Japanese appetite for horses can be found here. This article states that over 60% of their horses for slaughter are imported from Canada.
It also can create painfull ailments such as laminitis. Once on the feedlot the horses receive very little, if any veterinary care. They do get a shot of “something” that can cause some discomfort. The “something” has never been revealed but was mentioned in an Access to Information (ATI) document that the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) received some years ago.
The horses are also crudely branded with an “inventory” number so that when the horses are selected they become a number on a form.
Its highly unlikely that the horses receive anything for the pain. For some time they are kept on the feedlot with no protection from the elements or biting insects in the summer. Draft horses with short tails have come from somewhere where they have interacted with people as a short tail indicates a horse who was intended to be used in harness either for work or show.
In the images on the left, we can see horses in a feedlot with docked tails. In the heat of summer they have no ability to swat at flies making it very uncomfortable for them. In the image on the right is a horse with a brand on his hindquarters. The brand is an S over an A. This is the brand of Schorno Agri-Business of Yelm Washington.
Here are videos that have been captured over the years highlighting this trade from feedlot to their final destination at a Japanese slaughterhouse.
On January 4, 2021, advocates attended at the well-known Flewelling feedlot in Lacombe AB to witness the loading of draft horses for a flight to Japan for slaughter. The advocates were intimidated by people working there which, sadly, happens very frequently. These folks obviously don’t want attention drawn to their activities.
This video shows a horse down in a crate. Its only 5 seconds long but must have seemed longer for that poor horse.
Video of young horses at the Summerview Feedlot. From here horses are taken to Calgary Airport for transport to Japan.
Early video of the MEAT TRADE
The first footage that we received from Calgary Airport.
The loading in Calgary and unloading at Kagoshima Airport in Japan.
Unloading and to the quarantine station where they stay for a week or two. Its unclear how long they are there for. This video shows Willjill Farms of St. Thomas as the consignor. Willjill use the Grover family as their agents in Alberta.
This video shows loading in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg with some points about the treatment of the horses and how the shippers are disregarding regulations regarding transport of horses.
The background noise in this video is overwhelming and must be agonizing for the horses who have very sensitive hearing.
At the end of this video you can see a horse with his head out of the crate.
Footage showing Edmonton and Winnipeg loading.
Typical feedlot conditions are shown below. The rate of acreage for draft horses is 1.5 acres for 1 horse. (Source: Draft Horses, An Owner’s Manual, Beth A. Valentine, DVM, PhD, Page 5)
These images show that this guidline is obviously not adhered to. Horses on these feedlots are not provided proper farrier or veterinary care.