Live Horse Exports for Slaughter by the Numbers

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.

Before 2003 it appears that Canada was not involved in the trade of live draft horse shipments to Japan for slaughter.  However, in 2003, well-known live draft horse exporters Schorno-Agri Business of Yelm, Washington,  purchased the Summerview feedlot in Brocket,  Alberta, to start warehousing draft horses for this trade, as they had been successfully running the business out of Seattle Tacoma Airport but apparently needed more space for “product”.

After purchasing Summerview, Schorno appeared to reach out to Bouvry Exports to lease feedlot space, as Belgians and Percherons soon started appearing in Bouvry-owned feedlots in large numbers.  Schorno has since sold the feedlot to a Hutterite Colony but does lease pens there where draft horses are still warehoused before shipping to Japan.

It is unsettling to contemplate the number of Gentle Giants who have made this one-way trip to Japan over the years from Canada.

Based on numbers released by the Canadian government, this chart below shows the total number of live draft horses shipped to Japan for slaughter from 2007 to January 2020:

The CHDC receives regular updates on numbers of horses slaughtered domestically as well as those horses who are exported to Asia for slaughter for human consumption.  The dispassionately titled Horse Trade Report, released from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, gives us the numbers.

 Due to a “consolidation” which has taken place in the horse slaughter industry, the total number of horses slaughtered in Canada has not been provided since 2017.  The Bouvry family owns the remaining two federally inspected slaughterhouses in Canada, so presumably, for confidentiality reasons, the total number of slaughtered horses is not being provided to the public.

We wonder on what grounds this information is deemed confidential, when every other slaughter company must submit and release publicly the numbers of animals they slaughter?

 On June 24, 2020, we published the final Horse Trade report for 2019 (below) on our Facebook page with the following explanation:

 “Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has released the Q4 Horse Trade Summary report for 2019.

Compared to the same period in 2018:

 Live exports for slaughter (outlined in red)- 2800. A decrease of 17.6%.

 In 2017 the total number of horses in this category was 4,846.

 US imports for slaughter (outlined in blue) – 10,486 horses. A decrease of 0.8%

 In 2017 the total number for this category was 12,273.

 Horse meat exports increased by 0.8% % (outlined in green)”

The horses in the above photo shipped to Japan in June 2020 for slaughter for human consumption.

Please, please, for the sake of the horses, keep contacting your MP, regardless if there are petitions or not, and keep driving the point home that horse slaughter in any form in Canada is unacceptable and that they must work to end it.

Your friends at the CHDC