Horse News

Doublespeak from Canadian Food Inspection Agency on allowing slaughterhouses to shoot horses

SOURCE:  Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

This story is from our friends working across the Canadian border, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).  While the Canadian Food Inspection Agency claims to “discourage” firearms use in horse slaughter, it ALLOWS it.

When the first shot fails to render the horse unconscious, there is too long a span before the next shot is fired.  I never witnessed anyone checking to ensure the horse was unconscious before being dumped out of the kill-box, which may lead to the horse being shackled, hung, and bled while still conscious.”  – Mary Richardson, DVM

SOURCE:  Canadian Horse Defence Coalition blog

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) discourages use of firearms in horse slaughter but allows plants to use them

Why then is the .22 calibre rifle the weapon of choice for Canadian horse slaughter plants?

In the past, the CHDC has published video evidence showing that Canadian horse slaughter plants have indeed used the .22 calibre rifle to stun horses and its use is still in evidence.  Since 2007 inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals, so their role is basically an administrative one now.  In effect,  inspectors cannot intervene when humane incidents have occurred, as revealed by a CBC probe.  Here Dr. Brian Evans, former CFIA Chief Veterinarian confirms that inspectors are not always present in the kill room.

richelieu_shooterBoth the Bouvry and Richelieu plants were using rifles in 2010 as evidenced in the Chambers of Carnage video.

In February 2012,  after a CHDC report exposed poor stunning rates at Les Viandes de le Petite Nation Inc. slaughterhouse, it was revealed that the LPN slaughterhouse had shut down temporarily to review their operating procedures and re-opened with the announcement that they were now using a .22 calibre rifle to stun horses.

Commenting on the slaughter at the Bouvry and Richelieu plants using rifles was Dr. Mary Richardson, DVM, former chair of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, former chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor General of Ontario, former board member of the Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph.

“The American Veterinary Medical Association published a document titled ‘The AVMA Panel on Euthanasia.” It is considered the gold standard on humane ways to kill an animal. It clearly states that there should be little or no anxiety before death. The death must be quick. The death must be painless. It is clear that these tapes from Bouvry show an unacceptable level of suffering.

Regarding the Richelieu plant in Massueville, Quebec, although the level of suffering does not appear to be as high as at Bouvry, I still have concerns.   When the first shot fails to render the horse unconscious, there is too long a span before the next shot is fired.

I never witnessed anyone checking to ensure the horse was unconscious before being dumped out of the kill-box, which may lead to the horse being shackled, hung, and bled while still conscious.

Respectfully submitted by Dr. Mary Richardson, DVM, April 17, 2010”

As well, Dr. Henry M. Richardson of California stated, regarding Bouvry Exports and Richelieu Meats’ use of rifles:

“The practices currently in place at these horse slaughter operations are not consistent with AVMA guidelines for euthanasia of horses. As a United States Department of agriculture accredited veterinarian in California, I can safely say the slaughtering of horses at Bouvry and Richelieu does not fall under anyone’s idea of ‘Best Practice Guidelines.’

 Henry Melvyn Richardson, DVM”

175 shot but angle is still wrongIn addition, Dr. Debi Zimmerman, who also reviewed slaughter footage at Richelieu and Bouvry, states that:

“Every second a horse must remain isolated and confined in a strange situation, can be agonizing. Many horses were left over 3 minutes prior to being shot, including one horse left while workers hosed down the kill floor and went for their 10 minute break (#75), and one horse at Richelieu (Horse #1) which was left in the stun box for 20 minutes. One obviously panicked horse at Richelieu, flailed about in the stun box for nearly 3 minutes, before the shooter finally attended to him.”

“At Bouvry, many horses demonstrated voluntary movements, or obvious rhythmic breathing, upon being suspended. This indicates these horses were likely conscious as they were being hoisted high into the air with one leg bearing their entire weight, and while their necks were slashed on both sides (which entails using a sawing motion of the knife). A full bleed out takes minutes, and as some horses had their feet chopped off within 45 seconds of the throat slash, some horses may also have experienced the pain associated with this procedure as well.”

“[The shooter] allowed a horse that became cast in the stun box, to flail about for almost 3 minutes while he carried on a casual conversation with a co-worker; he forced horses to step over the legs of fallen horses which had not yet been removed from the now very crowded stun box, and, he led horses through improperly closed gates on which they subsequently struck their heads. The shooter also whipped an older and obviously lame horse (#93) 19 times.”

“The fact that a .22 calibre rifle does not typically deliver a kill shot, along with the high rate of mis-shots delivered by the shooter, this excessive time lag between stunning and bleed offers numerous horses the opportunity to regain consciousness while they are being processed.”

“In addition to this psychological pain, these horses also suffered physically in numerous ways. These included slips and falls, fractures, numerous mis-shots with some horses requiring a second or even third bullet; some horses regaining consciousness before or while being suspended by one leg, and/or when their throats were being slashed: excessive traumatization during assembly; excessive whippings of their bodies and across their faces (Richelieu), and excessive use of electric prods (Richelieu).”


19 replies »

  1. I am appalled each time I read about this. The biggest percent coming from the US. It is just shameful!!? I will fight until my final breath is taken to stop this. Someone breed them, raised and loved them at some point. They probably gave their all from some jerk that sold them down the river. Karma is a bitch and Ihope that they will get theirs when the time comes. We must stop the export of our US horses from leaving our shores both domestic and wild!


  2. This is so utterly sickening. Unfortunately other versions of the same atrocities have been around for quite a while. One can only take so much before hatred raises its ugly head. I do not want to hate so I either have to withdraw or to take action. But what action?


  3. I hope that for every American horse killed with toxic drugs and finds its way into the human food chain until the owners of these slaughter houses end up paying big bucks from law sues for processing and selling toxic horse meat…My question is when will the EU wake up and ban all horses from the USA because there is no tracking system in place to insure that toxic horse meat is not feed to humans… Hello you people who eat horse meat need to wake up and realize that American horse are not raise as food animal and we fill them with a number of toxic drugs that could kill you and your family…..


  4. Terr, once a horse is in a Canadian slaughter plant the ownership turns over to the plant, then the plant stamps a “Product of Canada” on the carcass. This is the out for the EU and the slaughter industry. US horses are no longer US but “Canadian”. Even Canadian horses are not tracked. The EU believes the CFIA’s claim that the EID system is foolproof but it’s common knowledge that the EID system is a joke. Canadians fought hard to have an anti-slaughter Bill passed but it was defeated in May. The US must fight to get the S.A.F.E. act and any other anti-slaughter laws passed. We in Canada will continue to fight to end slaughter here.


    • Yes – Loni…. Well said
      ” We in Canada will continue to fight to end slaughter here”

      Voters need to get rid of CONservative Prime Minister Harper and his Agriculture sidekick Gerry Ritz. Those shameful, pro-slaughter boys simply do as they please,
      while unsuspecting EU families digest a lot of dead racehorses.


  5. i can’t read these stories without tears streaming down my face. i can’t for the life of me how a human can be so desensitived to be able to do a job like this . and just thinking about these horses and the torture that these wonderful creatures have to endure just tears me up and makes me want to fight these m/f’s even harder. yes we have to get that person in ok -rep to get off that committee so it can be submitted for vote. from what i understand he is the one holding this bill up . well and obozo with his many crisis’s that he has brought upon us. now 5 wk.s of vac. for re-election purposes ..why can’t this be a focal point of their election platforms — can’t we pressure them to address this while they campaign surely some how the public needs to be aware of this issue ?



    Where do these horses come from? They come from race tracks, farms, riding academies or private owners and are sold at auctions all over the country where they spend hours and sometimes even days in overcrowded pens, often without access to food and water.

    Horse Transport: After being bought by a “kill buyer” they are loaded onto a double or single deck trailer and transported to their final destination, one of the slaughter plants in Canada or Mexico. Animals’ Angels has documented transport times of more than 35 horses – and at no time were the horses ever given food or water, or had a chance to rest.

    Arrival at Plant: Upon their arrival at the slaughter plant, some of them are already “down”, unable to rise, due to exhaustion, dehydration or injuries. These horses are supposed to be euthanized immediately. However, our investigations and research show that this is usually not the case. Federal law requires that horses must be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter, usually by a captive bolt. However, due to horses’ natural aversion of anything approaching their foreheads, some horses, even after multiple attempts, are improperly stunned. They remain conscious as they are hung up by their rear leg and their throat is cut.

    At slaughter, living horses’ humane treatment is superseded by economics. Profitability requires speed. But as speed and the rate of slaughter increase, errors and horses’ suffering increase. Holding up the kill line is frowned on. Video footage recorded at a Canadian slaughter plant confirms that operators are pressured to kill faster, egged on with, ‘Hurry it up, guys!’, ‘What’s the hold up?!’, ‘One more!’, and just plain ‘Hurry up, kill her!’

    Get all the information! Read our Horse Slaughter Compilation Report, which shows all the evidence obtained by Animals’ Angels during 30 months of cruelty investigations…


  7. Thats NOT double speak as much as intentional Removal from saying No because its NOT humane. Now I GUARANTEE this was the plan for the plants in USA that wanted to open. Using a gun Without Inspectors on the humane side. The issue truly IS other cultures that do NOT have humane regulations want the animals bled Completely alive and aware. In such instances pigs and dogs are boiled ALIVE. It shows horse slaughter plants will Give in to Any culture but the Humane ones and I fear American plants were NOTfar behind with AGGAG and trying to change the minds of Americans by using so called lobby Humane Watch…you know the group thats inhumane enough to BLOCK protections for animals to preserve the rights of humans? The fact is Canada plants have veiled themselves behind a smokescreen. Now heres the difference between me and advocates….this plants tactics were common knowledge and the horse people that did know spoke out but Canada and proslaughter covered by pointing at Mexico. Really Canada plants made Mexico plants into the scapegoats to appear on the up and up overall. The fact they do not check horses doesnt mean they were dead…however proslaughter spins it that way on purpose. The tall tales of horse slaughter are just beginning to unfold right before your eyes.


    • Sorry the difference between me and advocates was was between AR and advocates and the statement was horsepeople knew about these things only as mexico was being described as the bad plant amd canada as the better option. However that was just a diversion. (my apology. I was dictating for my wife and I am all thumbs…lol.) The point is the humane procedures are not being verified in their socalled protocol for bystander inspectors for their safety. In the scheme of things they just do No want to proclaim the Plants are abusive Period!


  8. An episode recently aired on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL
    (THE Horse Heart/Seal Flipper pie episode is on youtube, but you have to pay to watch it)
    Go behind the scenes with Andrew Zimmern in Toronto, where he finds a melting pot of edgy eats like HORSE HEART salami, seal flipper pie, and pig’s ear and cuttlefish.
    The Black Hoof – Toronto, Canada


  9. yes , i think the ones who are more mobile then my self who can should be . debbie do you think you can make pamphlets on this subject an other matters concerning the horse industery , like the nurse horses of the thoughnbred ind., the wild horses and horse slaughter ,made up for advocates who are not as mobile can leave them like in the hospitals and dr’s offices , don’t forget the assinine pmu industry ,too. you have my e-mail address . i hope to get many of those to distribrute . i really wish very bad things to happen to these people.


  10. This is beyond disgusting and speaks to the in-humane treatment of domesticated animals , these are animals that deserve respect and dignity, not to be tormented and killed ” food needs” of few which is justification to profit at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society, —:(((((?


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