Horse News

Sweeping Undercover Investigation of Canada’s Leading Equine Slaughterhouses shows Cruelty and Abuse

News Release from Canadian Horse Defense Coalition

Horse Welfare Group calls for immediate closure of Canada’s horse slaughter plants

Westbank, B.C., March 30, 2010: In late February 2010, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) received hidden camera footage of horse slaughter practices at Quebec’s Viandes Richelieu and Alberta’s Bouvry Exports – the latter known as North America’s largest exporter of horsemeat. The CHDC has asked a panel of veterinarians, the BC SPCA and the World Society for the Protection of Animals to review the footage, which contains numerous instances of improper stunning and horses showing signs of returning consciousness.

Early audit results of the footage show automatic failures of both facilities.

The CHDC has compelling proof that puts into question the effectiveness of the assembly-line slaughter of horses. The evidence demonstrates that both the facilities in Alberta and Quebec fail to meet humane slaughter standards used by the CFIA to audit Canadian slaughterhouses.

The CHDC’s June 2008 report on Natural Valley Farms – the now bankrupt horse slaughterhouse in Saskatchewan ( documented the inadequate stunning of horses with the penetrating captive bolt gun.

At both plants in the February 2010 investigation, a .22 rifle was used, and again horses were shot incorrectly, with some regaining consciousness. As stated by Alberta veterinarian Dr. Debi Zimmermann: “I conclude that the wary and flighty nature of the horse, coupled with the poorly designed kill plant systems currently in place at Bouvry Exports and Viandes Richelieu, results in unacceptable levels of suffering endured by horses (both in number of horses and degree of suffering), and poses inherent dangers to plant personnel.” Dr. Zimmermann adds: “The shooters are seldom able to adhere to the required protocols for euthanasia by firearm, due to a combination of horse and human factors.”

As there are only two government-approved methods of stunning horses in Canada – captive bolt gun and rifle – and both methods have been shown to cause prolonged suffering in numerous horses, we conclude that these animals cannot be slaughtered humanely in today’s slaughterhouse assembly lines.

The CHDC therefore calls for the immediate closure of Canada’s horse slaughter plants.

To view footage, go to

(Full videos of the carnage can be seen HERE but be forewarned that it is very disturbing, even for the stout of heart.  Good stuff for Sue Wallis, Ed Butcher and Dave Cattoor to see when they talk about how humane horse slaughter is.  View all the videos, weep and spread the word. – R.T.)

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24 replies »

  1. I don’t know why I am continually surprised at the abilities of mankind to be so cruel, selfish, greedy and inhumane. It is just so disturbing the level of abuse some humans walking on this planet can inflict on other living beings and the environment….absolutely heartbreaking. But then, I guess one would have to have a heart to let this bother one, and a soul, and a spirit, and a conscience, and a….


  2. I just want to underline your warning on these videos.

    Many that come here are new to these issues. When we say this is the stuff of nightmare… we mean it.

    It is an incredible investigation.
    The cruelty horribly graphic and real.

    The video posted on this site is the faces of some of the “lost.” The link to CARNAGE click here is CARNAGE.

    When people talk about how much “better” horse slaughter is in Canada (or was in the US) as opposed to Mexico, they need to choke on this…
    Oh, it’s going to be another one of those days!


      • I believe if you see the previous story on R.T.’s blog here regarding the pigeon fever story it should anwser your question. This looks like a very serious sitution that is taking place.


  3. I have a friend born in Canada, now married to a U.S citizen and living here. She’s a nurse, and speaks with pride of the quality of the Canadian heathcare system, and the superior morals, ethics, and practices of Canada over the U.S., both personal and governmental. An inflated ego? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s how many Canadians see themselves. Now’s their chance to prove it, at least regarding cruel horse slaughter!


  4. I have seen videos before of what happens at the slaughter houses and vowed never to watch another, about a minute of one was enough to make me into a hysterical crying devastated heap. This was posted on my FB page yesterday and after sharing it with a warning I made the mistake of watching about a minute of the first one despite saying I would never do it again and it put me back there again. I had to turn off my computer go out to my barn and cry into my horses mane until I had calmed down (a few valium helped). I am glad this has been published maybe it will shock people into awareness and action, we are living in lala land, ostriches with our heads in the sand, if anyone can sit through even one of these videos and feel nothing then they are a lost cause. Another sleepless night last night, I hope that all of these thousands of tortured souls are at peace over the rainbow bridge, GOD (is there a God I often ask myself) knows they deserve it and I try to console myself with this thought.


    • Lori- I did not watch the video- I have seen the nightmare of horses being slaughtered over and over again in my mind’s eye. Its like when you get a song stuck in your head and you keep singing it over and over and over and you count your blessings if its a happy one. There are no blessings for horses headed for the slaughter houses in Mexico or Canada. Now, they want to bring this horror back to the USA. Shame on them! We need to start acting like civilized societies.



      • Every proponent of horse slaughter should have to work in a horse slaughter plant first!


  5. My opinion – and I saw the real deal in Texas – is that if you can’t sit through one of these graphic videos, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to campaign against horse slaughter. If you are pro-slaughter, you should be REQUIRED to watch all of them, and if you can’t, you are a hypocrite of the worst kind. If you turn a blind eye, claiming you “can’t stand it,” and then DO nothing, you should have to spend a day in the slaughter house watching it as it happens.

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    I have extremely strong feelings about this – guess you noticed, huh?


    • Amen, Suzanne, Amen!!!

      I was admonished on a social network for using the picture that I did with the article. Sorry, you can’t polish a turd as it is what it is. It’s a bloody, cruel, predatory, dirty, anti-spiritual business.

      Like you, I have seen the real thing and anyone who thinks that horse slaughter is humane and that they should send their life long companion there should be forced to see these videos.

      The likes of “Red” Ed and “Slaughterhouse” Sue should be sentenced to months worth of watching. It just goes to prove that the “other side” either doesn’t have a clue as to what the bloody reality is or they simply lie through their teeth. Which do you think it might be?


      • Sometimes I think they really don’t know, but before they support slaughter they should GET a clue! They say we make this stuff up, but if they gave a damn they could find out for themselves.

        I guess it’s a little of both – what they don’t know can’t hurt their bottom line.


      • I say BRAVO, I also say I was shocked and hurt by the picture. It also got me fired up about educating the general population that equine slaughter is not a humane end to any life.


  6. Its supply and DEMAND.

    If this is how well the slaughter houses are run, I say, as I have said before, France, Italy, Belgium, Japan – don’t trust the EU drug ban! Some will do better than others, but how do you really know what drugs are in the horse meat eaten?

    Now BLM is knowingly allowing infected wild horses with chronic Pigeon bacteria to comingle with all the horses. Since it may take up to 77 days to show external signs and the first adoption is in May – well just do the math. Some of these horses, since American Wild Horse is considered a delicacy, may directly end up on dinner plates or indirectly by spreading the desease at the slaughter transport and holding pens.

    And I hear that Japan likes their horse meat raw – is this a good way to start the crossover to infect humans?


  7. These pictures and videos need to go international,(if they aren’t already) to all those horse meat eating nations. On that note I personally do not buy any beef in the grocery store anymore. The small amount of beef our family consumes is raised by a family member or comes from a local 4-Her. Why—not every animal is inspected by the USDA–only ones that are suspect–that looked like something might be wrong with them. This information comes from my local cow vet. That being said about the beef industry it is obvious that with horses not being raised specifically as a meat animal the risk is quite high that the consumer has no assurance of contaminant free meat. The bottom line is that horse slaughter is not a humane way to end the horse’s life.


  8. R.T. Fitch :Amen, Suzanne, Amen!!!
    I was admonished on a social network for using the picture that I did with the article. Sorry, you can’t polish a turd as it is what it is. It’s a bloody, cruel, predatory, dirty, anti-spiritual business.
    Like you, I have seen the real thing and anyone who thinks that horse slaughter is humane and that they should send their life long companion there should be forced to see these videos.
    The likes of “Red” Ed and “Slaughterhouse” Sue should be sentenced to months worth of watching. It just goes to prove that the “other side” either doesn’t have a clue as to what the bloody reality is or they simply lie through their teeth. Which do you think it might be?

    Since so many people are disconnected from the land and their food source, we have an uphill struggle. What I always find amazing within the proslaughter contingent, is that they say they know the realities of equine slaughter and are cool with it. Well then my starry-eyed protrolls, you absolutely, positively have either another agenda fueled by greed or are devoid of any of the unique gifts God gave Man thereby elevating mamkind above the animal and plant world. And neither precepts have absolutely ANYTHING to do with equine welfare.

    R.T….love the “turd” metaphor, simmile, whatever! You left out the fact that in the end, after the animal has been treated this way…THEY ARE SELLING CONTAMINATED/NONTESTED MEAT TO HUMAN CONSUMERS!!!!!! Cruelty to animals is one thing; jeopardizing human health is another. Well maybe not. What is the saying? People that brutalize animals and environment have been shown to do the same to humans….EVENTUALLY!


  9. And R.T.?…keeping posting those pics and videos. They make me ill and I had to cover the screen all day yesterday blocking that shot, but it is necessary.

    I can take it if it stops this horse holocaust in the US and with our equines going across the borders.

    Sorry, this: “And neither precepts have absolutely ANYTHING to do with equine welfare.” …should have had a question mark for punctuation.

    Lost my religion for a moment.


  10. We win the battle against evil by prayer. Prayer is the seed of miracles and we must follow the example of Christ, by being persistent in prayer.


    Horse slaughter is brutal inhumane , a horror, it is not a nice service for people to humanly put to sleep a horse, – it is a cruel brutal predatory industry that steal horses, tricks people in getting there horses , robo breeds, deviously makes up lies such as abandoned horses and unwanted horses to legislatures to get them to repeal or pass laws that would allow them to again exploit and brutalize horses. This is unacceptable to a huge majority of Americans.
    listen to former Mayor Paula Bacon – about the horror in her town Kaufman Texas here:

    The FOIA -(freedom of information act )shows horses bound for slaughter in the U.S. endured shockingly cruel treatment. Photographs documented horses with legs ripped off, eyeballs hanging on their cheeks and other severe injuries.Earlier GAO documents raise additional disturbing humane issues. A 2004 GAO report found horses were slaughtered while conscious, which are considered significant violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.Sonja Meadows, Executive Director of Animals’ Angels, a Maryland based animal welfare organization, said, “We are asking the GAO to thoroughly examine the ineffectiveness of laws in preventing documented cruelty and inhumane practices. It seems clear from the USDA FOIA, earlier GAO reports, ours and others’ investigations, that horse slaughter is a predatory business whose economics require cruel and inhumane practices. It is definitely not, as horse slaughter advocates would have the public believe, a service motivated by altruistic concerns or humane practices.”Horses are slaughtered for consumption overseas, primarily in parts of Europe and Asia. A USDA study shows that 92% of the American horses at slaughter are young, healthy and without behavioral problems, refuting claims that horse slaughter provides a service in disposing of horses that are old, lame, sick or crazy.Meadows said, “Irrefutable evidence of brutality is already quite plentiful, unfortunately. We believe the GAO’s report will be the definitive wake up call to the new USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Obama administration to push for an immediate ban on CRUEL-COWARDLY-BRUTAL HORSE SLAUGHTER BY GREEDY PREDATORY INTERESTS WHO PRETEND THEY CARE FOR HORSES -THEY DO NOT . In face pro-slaughterers have dandled telling the truth all together as the facts are not acceptable to any one but them. Pro-slaughterer are bold faced lying about abandoned horses all over the place – this is not true – it is in fact very rare- the economy is bad but reputable groups will help, pro-slaughterer’s are the main ones who are rob breeding and then want to throw away their excess. this DOES NOT JUSTIFY HORSES HAVING TO ENDURE HORRIFIC ABUSE THAT ALL SLAUGHTER IS, rob breeding and irresponsible breeding and ownership require for owners to stop overbredding and to be prepared to care for all horses they cause to be born . A study below documents that horses are not unwanted or being abandoned and if they were -real rescue groups wiil help as we do now – and the answer for any horses abused is not to furthur abuse them – but -to prosecute abusers.

    Despite the fact that several of the horses I could see had cuts and blood trailing from their mouths and noses, all looked otherwise healthy and fairly young…. Workers poked some of them with long fiberglass rods through holes on the side of the trailer. Once inside the building, I saw more callous workers beat the horses on the nose, forehead, neck, back or hindquarters to get them to move until they entered the kill chute. Egregious acts of cruelty took place right in front of me.


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