Horse News

Disturbing Video Prompts Calls for Ban on Horse Slaughter in Canada

Story by CTV

Videos Verify Captive Bolt Gun is NOT Humane

An image captured from a video showing how horses are stunned at a west Quebec slaughterhouse.

Animal advocacy groups are calling for a ban on the sale of horse meat after disturbing video emerged from a Quebec slaughterhouse showing horses being knocked unconscious before they are butchered.

One of the videos, shot with a hidden camera in Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in western Quebec, shows an agitated-looking horse standing in a small stall.

A worker from the facility near Montbello, Que. walks up to the animal, pets it briefly, then shoots it in the head with what is known as a captive bolt pistol.

The horse rears back, apparently in pain, before slumping down in the stall, unconscious.

In other videos, all shot over a period of two days, some horses are hit multiple times before they are knocked out. One is hit 11 times. In one video, a worker waves goodbye as a horse goes unconscious.

“It was basic shock and disgust,” said Lisa Rowlands, who runs Refuge RR, a horse rescue farm in Alexandria, Ont., describing her reaction to the video.

“You can’t have an animal that for most of its life is given medication, is given very good care, is treated with love and respect and all of a sudden say ‘we’re going to eat him.'”

A supervisor at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation, Stephane Giguere, defended the company in a brief phone call with CTV.

“What we do here is legal and supervised by the Canadian government. We do a very good job here,” said Stephane Giguere. The company claims the footage was obtained illegally.

Alex Atamanenko, an NDP MP from B.C., wants to change the federal laws governing the industry.

Atamanenko has introduced a private member’s bill to the House of Commons that would ban the transportation of horses for the purpose of importing or exporting the meat.

That would effectively shut down the horse meat industry.

“Mr. Speaker, whereas horses are ordinarily kept as pets for sporting and recreational purposes, and whereas they are not raised primarily for human consumption, and whereas horse meat products for human consumption are likely to contain prohibited substances, this bill would stop the import of horses for slaughter for human consumption,” he said in the House of Commons earlier this year.

Atamanenko also said in a statement he is “sickened and disappointed” that the federal government “continues to allow this industry to abuse these animals and the regulatory system.”

“This is the fourth plant to be exposed by undercover investigations indicating that an ingrained culture of abuse is still firmly in place,” he said.

Atamanenko’s Bill C-322 would put the brakes on an industry which doubled in size during the recent five-year ban on killing horses for meat in the U.S. That ban was lifted in mid-November.

The Canadian industry has since connected with markets in Europe and parts of Asia and is estimated to have brought in about $70 million last year alone.

In fact, the federal government provided roughly $2 million in funding last year to help expand the Quebec facility in question.

Twyla Francois of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition — which was sent the videos from inside the slaughterhouse — agreed with Atamanenko that there are too few safeguards on the sale of horse meat.

“The meat is actually quite toxic, most of these horses come as ex-pets, ex-race horses,” said Francois. “Nobody raises horses to be used as meat and so they’re given series of drugs along their lives.”

Atamanenko introduced his bill to Commons on Oct. 5 of this year. Few private members bills, particularly from opposition MPs, become law.

13 replies »

  1. Well even tho I am in the Christmas spirit, I will be the first scrooge to say, I hope all that eat the meat from America’a horses get ill.


    • I will tell you that you’re not being a Scrooge. I just don’t understand how our policy makers can ASSume things–like because we bring horse slaughter back to the States it’ll somehow make everything okay for the horses.

      I could only stand two mins of Kudo Couto’s recent video it was that bad. And then the one that shows our fine military men killing a sheep with a baseball bat. And how about the slaughterhouse here in CA a few years back that caught workers trying to get a downer cow on her feet–no matter how cruel practices it took to get her up. In that case the slaughterhouse was closed due to violations and people went to jail.

      You may think these are extremes but I don’t believe they are. Even Temple Grandin says the second her back is turned people go back to slaughtering the old fashioned way. By the way did you see Temple’s name on Saving America’s Horses?

      If the cattle industry is worried that they are next on the chopping block by me they should have NO WORRIES. Because I went off beef last summer. I may want them to clean up the way they do things but I’m not on the list of sending anyone emails asking them to stop slaughtering beef.

      And if SS thinks that USDA is gonna find a way to inspect the horses I hope she finds out AFTER spending all funders money that USDA doesn’t and won’t find the means to do the necessary inspections.

      I’m curious why the WH won’t even comment on the Bill that potentially brought slaughter back to the States. Didn’t Obama know he was breaking campaign promises? Or did he have a brain fart? Why don’t we hear from him about this? What a sorry mess he’s brought to our country.


  2. I’m not in Christmas spirit when I see this. I will have to force myself to stay away from my computer for the next few days. I have so many articles to comment on. But next week we MUST all go after Canada and push them to stop horse slaughter. We must stop the supply too. Videos like this are a BIG help to our cause and you better believe that if Wallis gets her horse horror houses she will make sure this kind of footage does not get out. So lets make a New Years Resolution to stop horse slaughter and the transport of our horses out of the country for slaughter and lets make this the year that ALL horses are safe from the cruel and inhumane meat industry.

    Merry Christmas and May This Be the Year for the Saved Horse!!!


    • We will take a break from the reality of “good” fight for the next two days…so no need to turn your computer off, we will be here for you…there are a few good things in store.



      • I hope the horse slaughter will stop i cry every time i hear about a horse getting killed just to be eating i cant take this disappointment i love horses with all my heart this horse cruelity needs to end. Killing horses is not right.


  3. We must stay strong to fight this abuse. As horribly disgusting it is to see, don’t let it keep you away from what needs to be done to stop it for the other horses. In the meantime, here is my usual statement (and I really mean it):: “String ’em up!”


  4. I will fight the fight for our beautiful horses until the day I take my last breath. I for one would love to see all that harm our horses, wild or domesticated, burros, dogs and cats be given a taste of their own medicine. And, I’m hoping that they get what they have been doing to the animals. What a disgusting humane race we have become. I hope 2012 is the year of the horse, the year that all our horses can find a rescue, a sanctuary until a loving home can be found, or a loving home from the horrible place they were found in. I cry when I hear of these e-mails. THat a trusting horse that has had love, a kind touch, in the past is treated this way and suffers like this is an intentional killing. If they will do it to our beloved animals, they would do it to their own kids, I believe. I hope they get their just rewards from our Creator when the time comes, and I hope that it is not to long in the future. May all of you, R.T and Laura especially for what you do for our horses, have a blessed Christmas. I know this will be hard for you R. T. with the loss of your beloved dog just a week ago, but I truly believe that with all of us fighting for our horses, we will see a new beginning for them of love, kindness, and a future that we could not even imagine – a life that only God could help us give to these majestic, beautiful creatures. May 2012 be a year of the beginning of love and change for our horses.


  5. The Canadian media that featured this video has a print page (I think it is the same media).

    At the end of the written piece, they said that MPs that submit legislation outside of the PMs party affiliation rarely win their issue.

    I still think it is great the legislation has been submitted. Let the killers and human food chain polluters be documented and certified as cretins. It is only more ammunition on how horribly corrupt humans can be, how poorly government represents “all” people and how scary of food system really is.


  6. They don’t seem to get it. It’s not whether the video was obtained legally or illegally, its that it is happening at all. Despite the protests of Sue Wallis and her ilk there is no way to humanely slaughter a horse. This is the norm not just an occasional bad day. It has been shown happening day after day, slaughter plant after slaughter plant. State of the art humane horse slaughter plant does not and cannot exist no matter how modern and shiny the machinery. The very nature of the business will always attract those of a cruel nature. Who that feels and has a conscience could work there and be a willing participant in this horror?


  7. This is so sad. If you have ever owned a horse then you know they have feelings like we do!! God said in Revalation’s their will be horses. Do you think this is the wright thing to do to God’s creatures?. The lion shall lye with the lamb. WAKE UP HE WILL NOT FORGET WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!!! STOP THE CRUILTEY NOW!!! And no iam not a bible thumper! We the people do not wan’t this! This is all about$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ some wan’t need it where your going.


  8. It doesn’t matter what plant it is, its all the same. The kill is the same – I would rather see a horse shot with a pistol than to endure this. The sad thing about this whole mess is that there are horses going through these auctions and bought up under unscrupulous circumstances. I would like to get a list of the Killer Buyers who attend these auctions and expose them for what they are.
    Some of the Canadians are no better when they club the baby seals. Whats the deal with mankind, we are showing all the evilness instead of what is good about the human. I went through all this when Illinois closed Cavel, God what an eye opening this was for me…However, we can NEVER GIVE UP THE FIGHT because it could be anyone’s horse that is stolen to make up the quota.
    This is not now and never will be a dignified death for a horse or an equine.


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