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

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!

FEATURED IMAGE
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“.