Press Release from Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Horses shipped for live meat in wooden crates so small they cannot stand in their natural position
October 18, 2012, Calgary, AB – Footage taken of Alberta horses being shipped live to Japan for slaughter shows that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is violating their own standards set forth in the Health of Animals Regulations. The Regulations prohibit the transportation of all animals under conditions that would expose the animals to undue injury or suffering.
The 2012 footage shows horses in a feedlot being loaded with electric prods into transport trucks, transported to the Calgary International Airport and being crated in wooden crates so small they cannot stand in their natural position, in violation of Section 142 of the Health of Animals Regulations (“No person shall transport or cause to be transported animals in a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel unless each animal is able to stand in its natural position without coming into contact with a deck or roof.”).
Some horses were even being crated together, even though it is in violation of Section 141.8 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which states that horses over 14 hands high must be segregated for air transport.
Canadian draft horses from various producers are routinely live shipped to Japan for slaughter from the Calgary and Winnipeg International Airports. On arrival in Japan, horses are transported to a feedlot; once they reach desired weight they are slaughtered for horse sashimi, which is considered to be a delicacy in Japan. The meat must be eaten within three days because it is highly perishable; according to the 2008 Alberta Horse Welfare Report, each Canadian horse is worth approximately $20,000.
“Footage shows large horses overcrowded (not segregated) into wooden transport crates, often unable to stand in their natural position for a long journey to Japan, in clear violation of two of the CFIA’s own regulations”, says Sinikka Crosland, executive director with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. These transport conditions not only are inhumane but also are likely to lead to injuries and potential deaths during transport.
“Once again we see the CFIA turn a blind eye and choose to protect industry profits rather than do their job”, says Crosland. “The CFIA’s mandate is both to protect human health and monitor animal welfare. We have recently seen them fail to protect the public from contaminated meat and now we have clear evidence of them failing to follow their own regulations when it comes to live transport of horses for meat.”