Horses have long held an important place in our cultures and on the lands we now call Canada. Today there are about a million horses in Canada, and their lives vary greatly depending on how we use them and who is around them.
Some people believe that only the wealthy interact with horses, but this is incorrect. People of all income levels and backgrounds are involved with horses in different ways, including for sport, leisure, friendship and therapy.
Plus, all activities with horses depend on labour, and on the men — and especially women — who care for horses around the clock, 365 days a year. There is no closing time when it comes to looking after horses.
In a number of European countries, regular data collection and research help paint a clearer picture of the many roles horses and horse people play in communities and economies . This information gives us ideas of how we can improve horses’ wellbeing.
In Canada, for a few reasons, we have far less data.
We are particularly appreciative of these observations:
In fact, although we often use the term ‘equine industry’ as short hand, it is more accurate to speak of equine industries given the diversity of ways horses are being employed and conceptualized. In many contexts, horses are recognized as partners and sentient beings.
Yet in others, horses are seen simply as commodities. In Canada, some horses are slaughtered and others are exported live to be consumed in other countries.
In the ‘pregnant mare urine’ (PMU) industry, horses are repeatedly impregnated so their urine can be collected and made into hormone replacement products for women (Premarin). Some of the foals are rescued , but most are simply slaughtered and seen as a byproduct (much like male calves in the dairy industry).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Meat peddlers in the U.S. are happy. Why? In a word. China.
While trying to put together some statistics on U.S. meat production and consumption during Meat Out for Mustangs, a meat man made this remark to Tuesday’s Horse, “The meat industry here [U.S.] could care less if the entire English speaking world goes vegan. The demand in China is big and getting bigger. We could never hope to fill it all but we’re damn sure going to try”.
What is China demanding now more than ever? Equine meat.
Horse Meat Peddlers Busy
While lobbying on the Hill, a U.S. Senator told us that it is hard to make an argument against the United States refusing to compete in the world wide market demand for horse meat. Add to horse meat the strong demand in China for the meat of donkeys and the entire equine meat demand is skyrocketing. It is worth millions if not billions of dollars.
The U.S. Agribusiness wants as much of the equine meat market as it can possibly get. Right now its plan is to eliminate competition in N. America is simply this: kill off one; work with the other.
The horse meat business in Canada relies heavily on U.S. horses coming across its border to do a brisk business — roughly 60% of all horses slaughtered. A big return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil could for all intents and purposes put an end to horse slaughter in Canada.
Indications are that it would be a similar story with Mexico but with a twist.
The U.S. Agribusiness lobby envisions working with Mexican horse slaughter plants, not competing with them.
The EU currently have no horse slaughter plants operating under its jurisdiction in Mexico. This is perfect for what U.S. Agribusiness have in mind.
We were told by a lobbyist for U.S. Agribusiness that they are working on a deal with Mexico to do necessary routine inspections of their horse meat. Mexico would send their horse meat to the U.S. The USDA would “inspect” it (meaning they would test random samples), put their seal on it and send it on its way — for a fee. Horse meat sanctioned by the USDA would be worth millions to both countries. We are told their negotiations are firmly underway.
The proposed location in the U.S. for proposed horse meat inspections and export? Right across the border in Texas. How convenient.
This is why there is movement afoot right now in Texas to open not one but two horse slaughter plants, in a State with a long history of killing horses for their meat and shipping it. Oklahoma is itching to get in the game too we are told and they have thousands of wild horses there to dispose of if the Department of Interior gets what it wants in the 2018 Appropriations Bill.
What must happen for the above to be accomplished? By restoring federal funding to the USDA for horse meat inspections necessary for its export, or in other words NOT returning the defunding provision to next year’s federal budget. Horse advocates want that defunding provision to continue.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted not to return the USDA horse meat inspection defunding provision to next year’s spending bill. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted to keep it. Next up, the full House and full Senate will vote on it.
You can see how important continuing the defunding provision for horse meat inspections in next year’s federal budget bill is and how each one of you must keep calling your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators, in particular the U.S. House right now as it is divided almost equally.
Horse meat peddlers are licking their chops. Your call could turn the tide in favor of the horses!
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Horse Slaughter) — Dual anti-horse slaughter campaigns launched by The Horse Fund could benefit all NA horses threatened with entering the slaughter pipeline.
Canadian horse slaughter plant owners are lining the pockets of U.S. federal lawmakers and lobbying them to ensure U.S. horses continue to go to their country for slaughter.
Horse slaughter plants in Canada are scared of the knock on effect it could have on their business if we eliminate all U.S. horses from entering the human food chain.
Ending the export of U.S. horses might very well be the final nail in the coffin of an already struggling Canadian horse slaughter industry and they know it.
Eliminating U.S. horses from the Mexican slaughter pipeline could also harm the Mexican horse slaughter industry causing one or more of their plants to shut down.
If we work together and end the slaughter of U.S. horses, think how many horses would benefit if not a single horse from the U.S. entered the slaughter pipeline. It would put kill buyers out of business, shut down those hideously cruel feedlots and eliminate the nightmare of transport to slaughter for thousands and thousands of horses.
We need to continue to work at the State and Federal levels to do this.
Ready to help?
Matching Gift Opportunity
One of The Horse Fund’s loyal supporters who has matched many a financial contribution over the years was so impressed with our dual anti-horse slaughter campaigns he has stepped in once again with yet another matching gift opportunity for us.
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.
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.
• 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.