Ongoing Violations and CFIA Whitewash Confirmed on Air Transport of Horses for Slaughter

Belgian horses tagged for slaughter for human consumption. Google image.
Belgian horses tagged for slaughter for human consumption. Google image.

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ORANGEVILLE, ON, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has discovered gruelling evidence of multiple horse deaths connected to air transport to Japan, and attempts by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to cover up the truth.

Access to Information (ATI) documents reveal that three horses died as a result of a landing accident and six horses perished in flight on August 1, 2012, “due to a combination of a substantial delay, the large size of the horses, and significant stress levels in the animals”. However, a placating form letter dated November 2012, and later sent to inquiring members of the public, indicates that “the CFIA is not aware of any injury or undue suffering due to lack of segregation of horses over 14 hands in height.”

Further ATI findings include: “…horses usually go down during take off and landing”, and one horse evidently died on a trip from Calgary and was found upside down in his crate. Of ongoing concern has been breakage of the wooden crates, especially with stressed horses rearing up and falling against the crates’ wood strips covered in netting. Past instructions from the CFIA to exporters have included repairing the broken shipping containers with duct tape.

The CHDC also notes that, in spite of lengthy debate within the agency concerning overloading the crates with four heavy horses, the practice is still continuing. In fact, The Health of Animals Regulations stipulate that horses over 14 hands high (56″ high at the base of the neck) must be segregated for air transport, and they must be able to stand in a natural position, without coming into contact with a deck or roof. Both laws are being broken on an ongoing basis, with the CFIA fully aware of this and, on horse shipment formwork, noting the segregation regulation under “Description of Non-Compliance”. Further, for their own purposes, the agency has added wording to the Health of Animals Regulations that has not gone through official legal channels.

Attempts have been made by at least one agency official to install cameras in aircraft and to initiate a study regarding equine welfare associated with air transport. Both proposals were turned down. ATI findings indicate that the reason could have been “siding with exporters”.

CHDC Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland, states: “In 2014, over 7,000 large draft horses shipped from Canada to Japan under these circumstances. It is clear that international trade and profit take precedence over animal welfare, possibly even human safety, and that the CFIA is turning a blind eye, circumventing laws and misleading the public. We have strong evidence of the agency failing to follow its own regulations concerning the live transport of horses for meat, and even lying to the public to cover deviations from the law.”

The CHDC calls upon the Minister of International Trade, Hon. Edward Fast, and Bruce Archibald, President of the CFIA, to demand that the practice of sending horses overseas by air cargo for slaughter be stopped on humane and legal grounds.

ATI documents and video evidence can be found at this link:

Please note that the image was not filed with this press release.

5 thoughts on “Ongoing Violations and CFIA Whitewash Confirmed on Air Transport of Horses for Slaughter”

  1. Please keep the spotlight on these horrendous abuses and all others you focus on that are the ultimate betrayal of man to a living being. The Canadian Horse Defense Coalition does superb work and I thank you for your tireless efforts to keep us informed. We need to reach outside of the horse world with the atrocities perpetrated on these magnificent beings to make a stronger impact and we WILL!


  2. This is despicable treatment of these horses who have no voice and are so giving to us and what do we do to them in return??? Unless the Hon. Edward Fast bans this totally unacceptable practice, then there will be nothing Honourable about him.


  3. I read this earlier, and had to compose myself before responding, because I WAS SO VERY ANGRY that this is happening! And the word humane is derived from the word human??? We truly love all animals & support various orgs. But after volunteering at local horse rescues, and working at an Equine Medical & Surgical Center, I have gained much insight to the innocent ones. I have been very fortunate to be involved with many rescue orgs. & my passionate horse friends have taught me so much about the many horrific, cruel situations. Wild Mustangs & Burros,(Ever After Mustang Rescue) Race Horses.. Canter (OTTB), Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue..Premarin Mares & Foals, Carriage Horses, & SO MANY MORE HORRIFIC SITUATIONS.. Do not mean to intentionally leave out any other horse breeds & abuse here… The list goes on & on… so many amazing people, horses & orgs.. I worked with so many draft horses, “THE GENTLE GIANTS” who were always amazing & kind.. Shipping live horses to Japan on airplanes in confined crates?? Had no idea until Vivian informed us of this!? Shame on all humans in all countries who let this happen to the innocent ones. We are their voice…We are all that they have.. Let us turn anger into action!!! Thanks Vivian for always keeping us informed… MANY, MEGA – UGHS!!!


  4. The Japaanese culture is revealing it does not care for honor in its basic form. I am shocked and repulsed upon learning of this another example of careless and ghoulish handling of animals they intend on eating. I have boycotted anything which may profit that country or its members. Canada should hang its head in shame for facilitating the deaths of the horse, its brave companion to what was once the Royal Mounted Canadian Police. I am zero tolerance.


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