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

Surprised that horses are slaughtered in Canada for human consumption? Learn more about this barbaric industry here.

AND be sure to look at the 3 blog posts immediately below….

Want to know what you can do to help put an end to this barbaric practice?

Please scroll down or visit this page.

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Our Patron

"I’ll be in touch tomorrow to donate to this important cause. How cruel and unnecessary Horse slaughter is. Modern society was built on the back of the working horse - and this is how we repay them. Classy."

"Canada should be leading the world when it comes to animal welfare— and yet we drop the ball in so many ways. We ship thousands upon thousands of live horses for the overseas meat trade and grotesquely fail with their treatment. Often in tight cages of three or four - for days."

"This is an amazing, important organization... donate if you can. Even a toonie makes a difference."  

Highlights of the CHDC lawsuit against the CFIA and the Minister of Agriculture regarding live draft horse shipments to Japan for slaughter for human consumption.

Update on the CHDC lawsuit against the CFIA:

Unfortunately, on December 10, 2019, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) lost the horse slaughter lawsuit against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding the live draft horse shipments to Japan for slaughter.

However, an appeal was subsequently filed and on October 16, 2020, the Memorandum of Fact and Law (our lawyer's argument) was submitted to the Federal Court of Appeal.  The CFIA then responded with their own argument. 

As of December 2020, we are currently waiting for the Court to set our appeal date.

This is what the CHDC’s lawyer Rebeka Breder had to say in December 2019:

"The court found that the CFIA does not have to follow its regulations and that it has the discretion to decide how to enforce them. We strongly disagree.

In this particular case, the law is abundantly clear that inspections of all horses must be done (by CFIA inspectors) prior to all shipments, and that all shipments must be certified as being compliant with the law.

For years, these inspectors have been certifying these shipments, even though horses were being shipped contrary to the law (ie, crammed horses into small crates, instead of being separated to avoid harming each other; and not providing enough headroom)."

 

December 10th, 2019. Rebeka Breder writes:

"We are incredibly disappointed to learn that we lost the horse slaughter lawsuit against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  The court found that the CFIA does not have to follow its regulations and that it has the discretion to decide how to enforce them. We strongly disagree.

In this particular case, the law is abundantly clear that inspections of all horses must be done (by CFIA inspectors) prior to all shipments, and that all shipments must be certified as being compliant with the law.

For years, these inspectors have been certifying these shipments, even though horses were being shipped contrary to the law (ie, crammed horses into small crates, instead of being separated to avoid harming each other; and not providing enough headroom).

In 2018 the CHDC sued the CFIA.  This is the original press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CHDC SUES CFIA FOR OVERCROWDING OF HORSES EXPORTED FOR SLAUGHTER

September 6, 2018 · by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

For Immediate Release September 6, 2018

No More Horsing Around – Animal Protection Group Sues CFIA for Overcrowding of Horses Exported for Slaughter

Vancouver, B.C.: 

The not-for-profit Animal Protection group, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), filed for judicial review in the Federal Court.  The lawsuit challenges violations of two sections of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) and names the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food as the respondent.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Health of Animals Act and the HAR.

“The law in regard to the live export of horses for slaughter is clear. Sections 141(8) and 142(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations say that horses over 14 hands in height (the size of a large pony) must be segregated, and horses must be able to stand in a natural position. These provisions exist to ensure the humane transport of horses, yet the CFIA consistently violates the law by allowing the overcrowding of horses and by allowing horses’ heads to touch the tops of crates, when live horses are shipped by air cargo to Japan for slaughter” states the lawyer for the CHDC, Rebeka Breder.

Since 2012, the CHDC has studied conditions under which live horses are exported to Japan for human consumption.  Photographic and video evidence has consistently revealed that even large draft horses have been crammed together for export purposes, sometimes as many as three or four per wooden crate, and that the ears of very tall horses have been seen to breach the netting covering the tops of crates. There is also evidence of horses dying and injuring themselves.

“This legal challenge certainly pits David against Goliath,” observes Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of CHDC.  “But the CFIA is not above the law.  The government has certain legal and ethical obligations, which cannot be swept under the rug.”

Please consider donating to the CHDC to support this legal challenge.

For more information, contact:
Breder Law (attention: Rebeka Breder)
Solicitor for the Applicant (CHDC)
Phone: (604)449-0215
E-mail: rbreder@brederlaw.com

OR

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Phone: 250-833-1964
E-mail:  sinikka@defendhorsescanada.org

THE VIDEO EVIDENCE IS CLEAR 

It may be hard for some to believe that tens of thousands of horses, are routinely slaughtered in Canada, for human consumption.

Some of the meat is consumed in Canada, and much of it is shipped to the European Union, and other markets, including  Japan.

This barbaric practice is currently banned in the United States, so horses from the United States are shipped to Canada, and to Mexico, to be slaughtered.

In addition Canada allows for the transportation of live horses to Japan, and South Korea to be slaughtered for human consumption, and unfortunately the transportation of horses destined for slaughter within Canada, and by air, is far from humane.

CANADIAN & INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS ARE BEING BROKEN 

HORSES ARE BEING INHUMANELY TRANSPORTED

Videos taken at Canadian and Japanese airports show many horses in these crates don’t have sufficient head clearance, with their heads touching the roofs and ears protruding through the crates, contravening IATA regulations;

and Flights are 10.5 to 13.5 hours long.

Additional hours must be considered for ground transportation, loading into crates, and loading and unloading crates from planes.

During this time, horses have no access to food or water.

It takes less than 5 minutes to contribute to Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's legal fund and every little bit helps.

"HORSES THAT MAY HAVE BEEN SOMEONE'S PET" 

Rebeka Breder
Breder Law Corporation
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada

“One of my bigger cases now is acting for the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. We are suing the federal government for violating animal transportation laws.

This is a groundbreaking case as it is the first time an animal protection organization has sued the government over the way it transports animals."

"People are surprised to learn that horses are being slaughtered in Canada [for human consumption].

Perhaps even worse, they are being exported in crammed conditions, to Japan [and South Korea] to be slaughtered for meat.

Horses that may have been someone's pet."  

January 2nd, 2020:  Rebeka TWEETS:

Starting #NewYear2020 w/ a bang!  Just filed the ⁦@defendhorsescan

#horse slaughter appeal @ the #Federal Court of Appeal, w/ #family in tow, while visiting them in my hometown of #Montreal.  And now ending day loving #vegan #sushi in #OldMontreal at Bloom. #animallaw

January 4th, 2020

CHDC Director, Sinikka Crosland writes:

It’s official!  Notice of Appeal Filed on Behalf of Horses Transported for Slaughter

On December 4, 2019, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition learned that we had lost our lawsuit against the Canadian government with regard to how horses are transported to Japan and South Korea for slaughter.  However, it was felt that the judge had made some reviewable errors that could be appealed with some hope of success.

We are therefore pleased to report that our lawyer, Rebeka Breder, has filed a Notice of Appeal in Federal Court January 2, 2020.  The notice advises that legal proceedings have been commenced against the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and asks that the previous judgment be set aside, based on numerous points forming the grounds of appeal.

It is imperative that we see this through to the end.  As Rebeka states, “Declining to hear this matter would send a chilling message to the public that animals do not matter.  With respect, doing so would be wrong.”

Please donate to this crucial campaign that could prove pivotal for animals of the future.  Help right the wrongs, and protect horses from harm!

IN 2018  3,396 HORSES WERE

INHUMANELY SHIPPED FROM CANADA BY AIR

TO BE SLAUGHTERED

FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION

Every year, Canada ships thousands of horses overseas by air cargo so that they can be slaughtered for human consumption.

In 2016 public records show that 5,839 horses were shipped to Japan for this purpose, 4,846 in 2017.

2018, 3,396  horses were shipped to Japan and South Korea to be slaughtered for human consumption.

HORSES DESTINED FOR SLAUGHTER

ARE NOT SHIPPED WITH THE SAME CARE AS

HORSES DESTINED FOR SHOWS 

These horses are crammed in wooden crates that are too small for large draft horses.

Only 1 large draft horse is to be shipped per crate, yet 3 and 4 are being shipped per crate.  International and Canadian shipping regulations are being broken.

YOU CAN HELP CHDC STOP THE CANADIAN

GOVERNMENT FROM TURNING A BLIND EYE

YOU can help Canadian Horse Defence Coalition win a ground breaking legal battle for horses and force the Canadian Government to abide by international and national transportation regulations.  YOU can help stop the  inhumane export of live horses for slaughter.

Tamara Goertz
We publish this article with mixed feelings of grief and gratitude, knowing that ending the cruel treatment of horses in this trade was Tamara’s fervent wish while she was alive.
https://bit.ly/2QhaJtV
@defendhorsescan #EndLiveHorseShipments

Please plan to join this online event to contact members of Parliament and others regarding live horse exports for #slaughter.
Everything you need has been provided including a sample letter and contact information
https://bit.ly/3dUk6rB
@defendhorsescan #EndLiveHorseExports

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