Documents obtained recently through Access to Information reveal a disturbing story of suffering connected directly to the exports of live horses for slaughter.
A two-year-old draft horse intended for the trade collapsed twice in his crate, where he had been confined with two other horses. He was eventually removed and sent back to the feedlot (fate unknown). For details, please see our report.
It should be noted that if this scenario had occurred during the long flight to Japan, the consequences could have been disastrous for that young horse, with prolonged suffering in cramped quarters under the feet of other horses. Make no mistake – this tragic situation has happened in the past, with horses dead on arrival!
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in his December 2021 mandate letter that there would be a ban on horse exports for slaughter, a collective cheer rippled through the animal protection community. Finally, we thought, the government had seen the light, taking animal welfare seriously, as they so often claim in form letters to the public.
Not so. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau tells us in a July 2022 letter:
“…the Government of Canada is currently analyzing this commitment. The Government is balancing the need to develop effective and science‑informed policies and strategies with the perspectives of stakeholders who are affected by its decisions. Stakeholders will be engaged in consultations, as applicable. However, no details are available yet regarding the timeline or breadth of such consultations or of the type of legislation that will be introduced.”
In other words, nothing has changed since her last letter in March.
How much analyzing is necessary before making a decision that will save lives? She says that stakeholders (presumably, the meat and export industries) are being consulted. What about the animal welfare sector? We have not received a clear answer to the question we previously asked – whether horse welfare will be represented in this decision.
Does this mean that the mandate to ban horse exports for slaughter has been stalled? Alarmingly, it would seem so.
Government red tape has done it again, leaving innocent animals suffering at the hands of industry. Even a Prime Minister’s simple mandate cannot be promptly fulfilled!
Now, more than ever, we must speak out for the horses.
Contact your Member of Parliament and make it known that horses matter!
Send a message to Agriculture Minister Bibeau and ask her to waste no more time!
The Prime Minister’s mandate is clear. The live exports of horses for slaughter must end. No more delays!