Tracking Canada’s horse slaughter trade from Alberta to Japan

'Breakway' by Robert Spaith was previously situated in the Domestic Terminal Building, but now graces the Arrivals Level in the new terminal. Image source: Calgary International Airport.
‘Breakway’ by Robert Spaith was previously situated in the Domestic Terminal Building, but now graces the Arrivals Level in the new terminal. Image source: Calgary International Airport.

HORSE SLAUGHTER. Source Article: VICE. By Anna Brooks (June 15, 2017) — Walking through the Calgary International Airport, you’ll pass a bronze statue of wild horses running.

Entitled “Breakaway,” the immortalized horses were intended to be a metaphor for Calgary’s spirit and strength.

But there’s another story of horses at the Calgary airport, a story some veterinarians are calling a “huge animal welfare issue.”

For years, animal advocacy groups like the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) have opposed the transport of live draft horses to Japan for slaughter. In Canada, alongside Mexico and parts of Europe, this practice is legal, unlike countries like the US where horse slaughterhouses are banned.

According to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by the CHDC and provided to VICE, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) banned shipping draft horses—a breed that can weigh more than a thousand pounds. Canadian Horse Defence Coalition image.
According to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by the CHDC and provided to VICE, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) banned shipping draft horses—a breed that can weigh more than a thousand pounds. Canadian Horse Defence Coalition image.

Horse meat is a delicacy in Japan, and places like Kumamoto specialize in fresh dishes like basashi—horse sashimi. Horse oil is also a sought after beauty product in Hokkaido, where it’s used to treat wrinkles, acne, and sunburns.

Slaughtering and selling horse meat has been outlawed in the US, whereas in Canada, there are four active federal slaughterhouses producing horse meat for human consumption—two of which are in Alberta.

While most of Canada’s horse meat is exported to countries around the world, horse meat is still locally available, especially in Quebec.

While groups like the CHDC had hoped to see horse exports decline over the years, recent data from Statistics Canada show 1,350 live horses exported as a commodity to Japan between January and March 2017, a batch valued at more than $2.6 million.

The number of live horses shipped from Canada to Japan has dropped since January, but prices per horse have increased; according to Statistics Canada, the average price per horse in February 2017 was $1,451, compared to March’s average of $4,136.

Read full article for more »

Take Action Canada

Prime Minister

Contact the Canadian Prime Minister and include in your personal message that (1) you are opposed to the live shipment of horses for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption and (2) to please see that existing regulations against the live transport of draft horses are enforced.

Health Minister

Contact the Health Minister who oversees the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and politely deliver the same message as above.

Please share everywhere. Let’s do this in numbers on behalf of these horses. Thank you.

Related Reading

Horses are still being shipped live from Canada to Japan to make specialty sashimi; Tuesday’s Horse; April 2017

Montreal’s mayor announces news rules for horse drawn carriages

A horse-drawn carriage rides in Old Montreal Wednesday, May 18, 2016 in Montreal. Montreal mayor Denis Coderre announced there will be a one-year moratorium on the carriages following recent accidents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.
A horse-drawn carriage rides in Old Montreal Wednesday, May 18, 2016 in Montreal. Montreal mayor Denis Coderre announced there will be a one-year moratorium on the carriages following recent accidents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.

MONTREAL, Canada — The horse drawn carriage (calèche) business in Montreal has a checkered history something it has in common with every other city who operates this type of business.

Last month, Montreal’s Mayor Coderre imposed a one year ban in order to assess the situation and give them time to unveil a new plan for the industry next spring that will create “optimal conditions for the horses” only to have it reversed by a Quebec Superior Court justice.

Now Coderre is prepared to table (introduce) a set of guidelines on how the horse drawn carriage business can ply its trade.

CTV reports:

Montreal will table new regulations to protect the welfare of horses working in the city’s controversial horse-drawn carriage industry, Mayor Denis Coderre announced Wednesday.

Coderre said the rules will include limits on how long the horses can work and in what temperatures.

“I think the horse is part of our history, part of our heritage, and we have to make sure that we protect, first and foremost, the horses,” he told reporters.

Last year, Coderre tried to place a one-year moratorium on the popular tourist draw after several accidents involving caleche horses were caught on camera.

That decision was later reversed after a Quebec Superior Court justice ruled the carriages should be allowed to continue operating.

In an executive committee meeting earlier Wednesday, Coderre said the new rules would limit the horses’ working days to nine hours and prevent them from working at temperatures over 28 C. They will also have to be seen by a veterinarian at least twice a year.

The bylaw will be tabled Monday and is expected to be adopted in August.

In the long term, Coderre said the city would consider building new stables for the horses.

Coderre’s announcement was quickly panned by some animal-welfare advocates, who have been calling for a total ban on the carriage rides.

Read full article »

No matter how well intentioned, Coderre’s regulations are welfarist and will not improve the lives of the horses in any substantial way. Most importantly of all, however, they will do nothing to remove the threat of accident resulting in injury and death.

Just last month CBC News reported on two carriage horse accidents in a single day within an hour of each other:

Witnesses say the horse pulling the second carriage tripped and fell on the ground. (Marie-Maude Pontbriand/Radio-Canada)
Witnesses say the horse pulling the second carriage tripped and fell on the ground. (Marie-Maude Pontbriand/Radio-Canada)

Two calèches were involved in two separate accidents in Quebec City Saturday afternoon, near the Château Frontenac.

In the first case, the driver appeared to have lost control of his horse, according to a spokesperson from the Quebec City police.

The driver was sent to hospital with minor injuries to her legs.

In the second incident, witnesses told Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language service, that the horse pulling the second carriage tripped and fell on the ground.

The family riding in the carriage at the time was unharmed.

Neither horse was injured, but they were given Sunday off to recover from the incidents.

Wow. A whole Sunday off.

But how do you regulate accidents from happening? You cannot. It is proven that horse drawn carriages must be banned from operating in high traffic areas because horses spook and run causing mayhem potentially injuring themselves and others, possibly even death.

* A calèche is a two-wheeled one-horse vehicle with a seat for the driver on the splashboard.

Horses are still being shipped live from Canada to Japan to make specialty sashimi

CANADA (Horse Slaughter) — The Dodo reports that horses are still being shipped live from Canada to Japan to make specialty sashimi.

Almost every week — from Edmonton and Calgary airports in Alberta and the Winnipeg airport in Manitoba — unwanted horses are packed into crates and flown across the ocean. They land in Japan, one of the leading importers of horsemeat; 6.5 million pounds of horsemeat were imported by the country in 2016 alone.

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition image.
Horses loaded and waiting on the tarmac in Canada for live transport to Japan for slaughter for human consumption. Canadian Horse Defence Coalition image.

But the live horses exported to Japan are used for something very specific: a kind of specialty sashimi called basashi.

An example of raw, sliced horse meat, served in Japan called Basashi.
An example of raw, sliced horse meat, served in Japan called Basashi.

“The meat needs to be consumed within three days after being slaughtered in order to be eaten as sushi,” Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International, told The Dodo.

Not only that, oils harvested from the horses’ bodies are also used in beauty products.

American horses are routinely shipped north just to enter the slaughter pipeline.

• Read full article at the Dodo.com »

Take Action

(1) If you oppose the live shipment of horses for slaughter and the suffering and death that goes along with it, sign this Change.org petition »

(2) Make it illegal to export American horses across U.S. borders.  There are two things you can do to make that happen.

• Endorse H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) online any time day or night.

and

• Telephone your U.S. Representative asking him/her to co-sponsor and support the passage of H.R 113.

If you know your Representative call (202) 225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator. Not sure? Find your Representative here. You will need your +4 zip code. Find it here.

Calls are having a major impact right now in Washington D.C. It is quick, easy and effective.

Be polite. Speak from the heart. Be sure to leave your name and address with whomever answers your legislator’s phone. Always ask them very nicely to read it back to you to make sure your call counts.

Call now!

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Belgian horses tagged for slaughter await shipment. Unattributed Google search result.

Updated 4/27/17 4:07 pm correcting replacing sushi with sashimi except in quoted text. Sashimi is typically made with fish but is also made with raw meat. See “Kinds of sashimi not made with fish“.

Kill buyers still making a killing selling horses to be killed for their meat

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — No horses have been legally slaughtered for human consumption in the US since 2007, when the last operating horse slaughterhouse in Illinois was closed down.

In 2017, kill buyers are still making a killing.

Numbers vary, but the general consensus is that approximately 130,000 US horses are slaughtered annually across its borders. It is the job of the kill buyer acting on behalf of these slaughterhouses to supply those numbers. Often this is done at livestock auctions. But they also prey on unsuspecting horse owners and many are also known horse thieves.

Unless something drastically changes, those numbers look to stay the same.

The number of US horses slaughtered may suffer a hiccup or two in the near future.

The new EU mandate of a six month waiting period for US horses crossing the border into Canada before they can be slaughtered for human consumption should diminish the numbers killed when it starts on March 31.

However, we know from previous experience with the Canadian EID — a passport of sorts listing all the medications a horse received in his lifetime but was constantly forged — that kill buyers and horse dealers are very adept at circumventing the law.

And who’s to enforce it?

Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.
Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.

In the meantime, our sources tell us that slaughterers in Mexico are scrambling to convert existing facilities and expand others in anticipation of the new EU restrictions concerning Canada when thousands of slaughter horses may be redirected to Mexico.

If thousands more slaughter horses are indeed sent instead to Mexico, a side effect of this will likely be horses turned back at the border.

Horses bound for slaughter and turned back at the Mexican border are sometimes cruelly abandoned after they have already made a long, horrifying journey in all temperatures without food and water, many of them injured, and some of them pregnant and mares with foals.

Kill buyers have been known to tell the transporters to get rid of them because they do not want the expense of returning the horses to the feedlot when most probably wouldn’t survive the return trip anyway. So they are turned loose.

Horses turned loose like this have been rescued when known about but most die a long, agonizing death, as the numerous carcasses that have been found tell us.

There are several kill buyer lists on the internet. If you learn of any, please report them to us anyone on the list below. But do not approach them. They can be very dangerous people.

It is amazing how much these people look like the ruthless killers they are; like serial killers. Very creepy.

KILL BUYER LIST

 Killer Buyers Exposed on Facebook »

Kill Buyers and Horse Dealers in the USA — Equine Rescue Network »

 Known Killer Buyer List — Mary Nash’s Horsemeat Website »

 Kill Buyers of Horses United States — My Horse Forum »

NEW TO THIS ISSUE?

See Animals’ Angels page on Horse Slaughter. Contains video footage. Viewer discretion advised.  »

THE HORSE FUND

See Finding a Home for Your Horse »

See Insuring Your Horse for a Humane End »

OTHER RELATED READING

See Mexican Horse Slaughterhouses | On the Road In Mexico

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Slaughterbound horses. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images