RCMP say no charges in CHDC horse slaughter investigation

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The Calgary Sun reports:

    Police say no criminal charges will be laid after allegations of animal cruelty were made against a Fort MacLeod horse slaughterhouse.

    The investigation was launched after RCMP were given video from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition depicting what they believe to be footage taken at Bouvry Exports Calgary Ltd.

    In the video, said to document 10 hours at Bouvry and a Quebec horse processing plant, the group said there was unacceptable treatment of 13 horses killed at the facility in this province.

    RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb said the investigation is now concluded and there was nothing criminal found.

    “We have decided there will be no charges from RCMP,” he said Tuesday.

CalgarySun.com >>

In a conversation between Int’l Fund for Horses and a former officer, he predicted an outcome like this because of the way the evidence was gathered, not the nature of the events captured, which are clear violations.

Then there is the matter of “intent,” which always makes it difficult to convict in slaughter cruelty cases.

    RCMP officials say they found no evidence of intent to cause cruelty to any of the horses at the slaughterhouse so no charges will be laid.

CTV Calgary >>

This means chances are extremely high the slaughter of horses is going on right now at Bouvry’s and Richlieu in the manner show in the CHDC videos.

This clearly demonstrates that no amount of regulation can make these “chambers of carnage” anything but brutal, terrifying and inhumane. Horse slaughter for human consumption must stop in Canada, Mexico and any other place in the world where it occurs.

Horses are not for eating.

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35 thoughts on “RCMP say no charges in CHDC horse slaughter investigation”

  1. INTENT?

    Any facility that slaughters horses has the INTENT of cruelty and torture to the horse.

    Horses are not humanely killed in any manner at a slaughter plant PERIOD.

    So, who are they blaming for the manner the horses are tortured? The horses themselves?

    If this video is pulled from UTUBE, that says a lot.


    1. Intent in this case is the legal definition, in context with what occurred, in order to file criminal charges. The RCMP are saying they could see no willful intent to cause excruciating pain and suffering. So what? The workers in question were not performing their job properly, thereby causing excruciating pain and suffering and in clear violation of the law. They should be fired, and the plant fined. The CFIA is not doing its job, and trying to hide behind the fact there were no criminal charges. CFIA is not beholden to law enforcement to enforce government regulation. Bouvry and Richlieu must surely feel confident they have carte blanche to do whatever they want with these horses, and can be as brutal and cruel as they want, knowing absolutely nothing will be done about it, by anyone. It is beyond disgusting, and a fact of life for all slaughter animals.


      1. Yes the CFIA is guilty as charged. The CFIA website says explicitly that:

        “If hazards to animals are present in federally registered slaughter facilities, Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors can stop production until operational issues are resolved. ”

        “Provincial animal welfare legislation is enforced by either police officers or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officers. Such officers also investigate complaints under Sections 444–446 of the Criminal Code, which prohibit unnecessary pain, injury or neglect of animals. ”

        And the clincher: “The key to obtaining compliance with this animal protection legislation is widely considered to be education.” How convenient!!!!! Turn a blind eye.

        In any case, Canadian law indicates that “willfulness” is comprised of two elements: “subjective foreseeability” and “recklessness”. “Knowing that the act or omission will probably cause the occurrence of the event” by definition makes animal cruelty an offense requiring “subjective foreseeability”.

        That said, I believe the workers did know they were causing the suffering and they were obviously reckless meaning that in fact it is a criminal offense in which they willingly participated. Hence, the RCMP are also guilty of a crime by failing to enforce the criminal code!!!!

        You might say the workers were poorly trained and need an income so they are innocent of any crime…in my mind it doesn’t change the situation in the least. What kind of an individual would want a job killing animals in any case, I often ask myself……..


        1. Everyone involved in this is complicit in the torture and criminal treatment of these horses, from the RCMP (obviously now corrupt), to the CFIA and most shameful of all, the SPCA of Canada. Every one of these organizations is a disgrace to the great nation of Canada and have soiled their reputations in way that is reversible in the minds of anyone who has followed this investigation and has an ounce of compassion.


        2. Interesting! Per the CFIA website, RCMP (or spca officers – ugh!) investigate complaints under Secs 444-446 of the Criminal Code. Were those the sections the CHDC used in its complaint? Even if the CFIS states education is “key to compliance,” that will not remove the penalties associated with violations of 444-446. CFIS’ statement is like our USDA saying they had educated their agents who, in turn, were to educate the slaughterhouses – it didn’t take place and the US Congress is now breathing down USDA’s neck.

          If Canadian law precedent has established that subjective foreseeability is an element of willfulness (or intent), an attorney (barrister in Canada?) should be able to move forward with prosecution. The fact that RCMP did not file criminal charges – does that preclude any other individual or gov’t entity (e.g., the county prosecutors of the counties where the specific slaughterhouses at issue are located) from filing charges? Damn – I wish I knew more about Canadian law!

          CHDC should NOT be stopped by the RMCP refusal to file criminal charges and the CFIA not imposing a fine.

          The videos make the violations clear. There is no question by what has been posted in this thread that it can be proven when and where those videos were taken.

          Here in the US, if the local sheriff won’t act, we can go to the County, then the State, then our legislators, etc., etc., etc. There must be a similar avenue in Canada?

          It is VERY important in pursuing this case that emotions not be expressed in such a way to make those pursuing prosecution seem less credible. This is a legal issue.


          1. Mary, the CHDC (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition) are relentless, and I feel certain are working on their next move. They will not walk away from this.


          2. I don’t think the basics of Canadian law differ from the US significantly. We are behind on the horse slaughter issue no doubt. Less people = less everything. We are no less horrified, but sadly government is government…and look at the US today, fighting to have slaughter re-introduced. People are people regardless of where they reside and people like ourselves will never understand why others do not have the same values…..it is a sad world when it comes to animal rights. So shameful and so upsetting.


  2. Horse slaughter is something I am personally not in favor of, however the bigger issue is the sell job that is being sent around that horse WELFARE is influenced by horse slaughter…This is simply untrue – the biggest danger to the welfare of horses is uncaring, unknowing and uninformed people. The battle around horse slaughter is a huge distraction from the larger issue of horse welfare, and this distraction is being perpetuated by the very members of the horse industry who should be supporting every effort and using every tool available to promote it. If the horse slaughter industry had to depend on purpose bred horses it would fade away because there would be reduced supply and with social pressure reduced demand. My link below is a blog post for you:



  3. As one of the people who had to go through the ENTIRE horrific footage to do the written Footage Indexes, we noted that the vast majority of horses had USDA green tags on them indicating that they came up from the US.
    There were a total of 189 horses killed that day. Not all could be shown on the public video due to time constraints.
    Seeing that the horses came up from the States it’s quite likely that some came from the Southern states and California where they wouldn’t have much coat or perhaps they were blanketed until they went to auction and into the kill buyer’s clutches.
    Also, as they were being hoisted to the bleed out you could see their under belly and, to us, a lot looked to have winter coats.
    In the background of the entire footage, one can hear a screamingly loud radio playing. Later on in the footage you can quite clearly hear the station ID being broadcast. A request was made to the radio station for their playlist for Feb 19th which they graciously provided.
    The playlist matched song for song what was heard on the video so it was indeed Feb 19th, 2010.


    1. Sounds like you did your “due dilligence”, and then some. Does Canada have any “whistleblower” statutes, and, if so, how do they work? I wonder to what degree the government and law enforcement might have been influenced by Canadian horse slaughter providers and the industry. Again, proving “intent” seems to be the primary reason the RCMP closed the case, but were there other factors?


    2. I am a US citizen, but what can I do to help you get this investigation re-opened. The findings make absolutely NO SENSE logically. Some one is the Canadian government has to get to the bottom of this.


  4. I absolutely am against slaughter in Canada. But a very good question has been raised. If the video taken at Bouvry was from February, why don’t the horses have winter hair? I’m fully behind the CHDC in trying to get these plants shut down forever, but have a little doubt in my mind regarding the time frame of these videos (and possibly their true locations…I’m guessing this is part of the gap that the RCMP couldn’t close and therefore didn’t press charges).


    1. Virginia, I wonder if the horses in question did not have winter coats because there are many horses slaughtered from a wide variety of climates, such as exist in the U.S. Not just Canadian horses are killed in these places.


  5. This is unbelievable…and yet so easy to believe in a country that prides itself as caring and kind and such a good place to live and yet slaughters seals for a market that no longer exists, will not ban imports of dog and cat fur because it might damage their fight to keep the seal hunt going and slaughters horses for the us, belgium, france and japan among others….
    i love canada..i love living here..but there are some things we condone that i cannot understand. apart from having lousy animal welfare laws..we obviously have loopholes in our laws that must be changed…closed. i have a great deal of respect for the rcmp…but in this case they are wrong, wrong, wrong…criminal charges must be laid..something has to be done to stop the cruelty. the rcmp is famous for their horses, including the musical ride…would they want their horses ending up like this ????
    the cfia has to do its job too…fines..anything….


  6. In your post you say: “In a conversation between Int’l Fund for Horses and a former officer, he predicted an outcome like this because of the way the evidence was gathered, not the nature of the events captured, which are clear violations.” What was the error in the way the data was collected? Also, how is intent defined in Canadian law. Is this decision being appealed by CHDC?


    1. The officer did not say there were any errors in the way the data was collected. The fact that it was gathered undercover could have made it difficult to rely on for prosecution purposes. I am personally not surprised that the RCMP did not file criminal charges based on the undercover investigation. What disgusts me is that the CFIA are using that as a signpost that nothing wrong was done. The police may not have been able to arrest anyone for what was being done to these horses, but the CFIA could certainly have fined them. Unless they have and are keeping it secret. How “intent” is defined by law would take more room than we have here. Not sure what the next move by the CHDC will be.


      1. “The fact that it was gathered undercover could have made it difficult to rely on for prosecution purposes.”

        Why? What, exactly, are the difficulties he is referring to? That doesn’t make any sense to me here in the States. Undercover information gathered by whistleblowers and by undercover police is used as valid evidence all the time in US courts for successful prosecutions.

        The assertion by the Canadian horse group president that he couldn’t be sure where the footage was taken also doesn’t make sense, logically. The specific set-ups for the kill boxes could be compared to the set ups at the actual slaughterhouses, yes? Likewise, the disturbance of the dust on the overhead beams where the cameras had been placed would make clear where the violations took place. And if the slaughterhouse beams had been cleaned – that alone should allow the RCMP to demand info as to dates and reasons for cleanings. The first cleaning of the beams in XX months/years? Not matching the past pattern of cleaning periods? This whole thing just blows me away. I just cannot BELIEVE the RCMP conducted a thorough investigation, then decided it did not have enough proof to to move forward with a grand jury.

        Who appoints the enforcement people at the CFIA and how does one put massive pressure there to re-open this investigation?

        The fact that these corporations did not properly train their personnel in humane slaughter standards should be enough to get CFIA and the Canadian government riled up. In the US, a Congressional rep has come down very hard on the USDA for horrible training standards in humane slaughter.

        I’m not upset at you, Vivian – I just absolutely refuse to let this go.


        1. I understand Mary. I am appalled that these clearly monstrous acts are going to go unanswered. I am tired of the answers being given to skate around these obvious violations. I am tired of the fact that slaughterhouses of all types continue to get away with violence and cruelty to these animals. That is one reason why I am vegan. I refuse to take part in this by consuming the products. That aside, it is shown time and time and time again you cannot regulate these slaughterhouses, this kind of suffering and death will occur as long as they exist.

          And it is not just the RCMP not filing charges. What about the CFIA taking no action? What about the Canadian SPCA going along with it all? It all stinks to high heaven.

          The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition have a flyer with contact information for the CFIA. http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/pdf/flyerehs.pdf


          1. Thank you for this information in the flyer, Vivian.

            As I say, I am not going to let this go. (Same with the outrageous recent finding here in the US re totally lax enforcement by on-site USDA agents who acknowledged they, themselves, are not at all clear on what is and is not humane slaughter – Can you BELIEVE it??)

            I don’t know how much of a help a US citizen will be in getting RCMP and CFIA to re-open this investigation, but I am going to do every damn thing I can to make it happen.

            Did not see that the Canadian SPCA went along with this. I am speechless.


  7. This is such an injustice! That horrendous plant should be shuttered and closed forever. I hope that shortly in the future, there will be a lawsuit against these despicable people that will stick in court.


  8. This only shows how low the human race is desending to. By the law on high we are to be the caretakers of God’s animals, but it seems like we are slipping lower than the animals themselves. Soon we will see the full force of God’s punishments and how will we explain what we have allowed to happen?


  9. “Intent” is one of the most powerful weapons in a defense lawyer’s arsenal, precisely because it’s so hard to prove. Hopefully the RCMP will stay on this, but don’t expect them to show their hand until they build a case they feel they can win.


  10. I can’t believe it. How couldn’t it be criminal? I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in this government. We are regressing to the level of all of the other so-called democratic nations. They have failed both the horse community and the Canadian people. Now our prisoners here not only live better than us, many of whom are by nature despicable as these traits are often inherent in the human race, but also are seemingly valued more than the innocent. What a disgrace!!!!


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