Cross-posted from CBC News – Canada
Video secretly filmed this year at two horse abattoirs in Quebec and Alberta reveals what animal-welfare experts say is systematically inhumane treatment, two years after cruel practices at another slaughterhouse were brought to the federal government’s attention.
Too many horses slipped or fell in the moments before being shot and too many were whipped or shocked with electric prods, according to independent audits based on the footage.
As well, the hidden-camera video doesn’t show anyone checking the horses to ensure they’re unconscious before they’re strung up to have their throats slit. If they were still awake, it would violate federal regulations.
In one scene, a horse writhes in agony after it’s shot in the face with a .22 rifle, then continues to squirm after a second shot to the head. It finally collapses 20 seconds later when the slaughterer, dressed in blue coveralls and a baseball cap, reloads and fires a third round into its head.
Another horse is left to thrash violently for 30 seconds after the first bullet doesn’t knock it out. In one of the worst cases in the video, a horse starts flailing its legs three minutes after it is shot — which can happen while it’s unconscious, but no one is seen checking to ensure that’s the case.
Yet another animal is jolted 30 times with an electric prod, including in the face, which breaks federal rules.
The disturbing scenes are contained in video given to CBC News by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. The group won’t say how it got the footage or who took it, but the coalition provided an unedited copy of the video, filmed in February at Bouvry Exports in Fort MacLeod, Alta., and Richelieu Meats in Massueville, Que.