Horse News

Canadian Government Sued Over Transport of Horses for Meat

by: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

“The law in regard to the live export of horses for slaughter is clear…”

Last fall, 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.

In a June 17th court filing, the CFIA defended it’s equine transport and enforcement policies and said the lawsuit is based on “cultural norms” and CHDC’s interpretation of what is, and is not, an appropriate food animal.

“However, the inevitable reality is that the CFIA’s role, on the facts of this case, is to determine whether the horses are healthy for export and are being safely transported,” the filing said. “There is no requirement on the CFIA to obtain a particular enforcement result and it is well recognized that perfection in enforcement can never be more than an unattainable goal.”

The CHDC is concerned that new rules, which come into effect in 2020, will further stress animals, because horses will no longer be required to be segregated from each other during transport. While this change is intended to reduce stress for the horses during travel, it could lead to injury.

At this point, said Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of CHDC, they are “waiting to hear about a date for the final hearing, as all final arguments have been filed by both sides. Cross-examinations of Dr. Cornelius Kiley of the CFIA were completed in March of this year.”

She added, “This legal challenge certainly pits David against Goliath. But the CFIA is not above the law. The government has certain legal and ethical obligations, which cannot be swept under the rug.”

9 replies »

  1. I can’t imagine thinking or knowing the horse that was mine and gathered with others by mistake and shipped to a pen and then sold to kill buyers and into Canada for Meat!!!!!!!!!! Your friend, pal, member of the family, treated in the most cruel way at the hands of those who do not care except for the money, the emotions, the anger, the heartbreak, something you never forget. Government, get your act together and leave the wilds alone to live on our land, NOT YOURS ALONE to make this decision. People, Rise Up. I will be happy to donate!!! Get lawyers, people who care behind this movement, to save these animals for our History.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pure insanity at it’s best!! Once again, beyond my scope.. And who are the top rated orgs. That we should support to make a difference besides WHFF, & AWHFC?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is just pure sickness to see a truck full of beautiful horses driving down the highway. I have seen this. I was ready to stop and open the doors of this truck if I could. What would I do? I carry halters in my car for this purpose of saving them. It is a horrible sight to see trucks going to a slaughter plant. We must stop this brutal anguish now. I have to stop killing our horses. I will always try to save what I can. Canada STOP YOUR BRUTAL KILLING NOW. THIS IS BEYOND COMPREHENSION. This slaughter pipeline must be brought to the attention of all people. Our government must be more informed on the darkest, killing of our horses across the border. Never, never again slaughter in our United States. Never. I will fight like hell to save our horses and I do every day. Educate people when ever you can about this horror. I do and will never stop trying to save our horses lives. All horses are incredible animals. So spectacular and special. Let us continue to work on changing laws to protect them. Stand up strong and speak out to others please. The horses thank you. I know I own a few. I love them. They are my best friends, special. Adopt as many as you can afford. They are worth every penny. Oh how I love them. SPEAK OUT EVERYONE. I also have a Mustang too. She is so beautiful. Oh how special she is. Fight for their Freedom. We can help them. They are counting on us to help them.

    Liked by 1 person



Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.