A monstrous practice which has been going on for some time notwithstanding protests from various Associations: protests which have intensified over the past few weeks.
A huge number of horses (also shipped in live from the USA) are slaughtered in Canada for export to China and Europe. This is a market mainly for horses that are ‘no longer useful’, in other words cast-offs from the racing and equestrian sport industries.
And then there are other journeys towards slaughter for a very different but no less horrible market: rich Japanese who will pay huge sums for a plate of sashimi prepared with raw horsemeat, which has to be as fresh as possible, so the market responds by setting up expensive live transports.
Victims of this trade are animals little more than yearlings. They are packed four to a cage with no partitions at all, then loaded into the hold of an aeroplane. This video shows the terror experienced by these animals while the cages are being unloaded in Japan. They are often shut into these cages many hours prior to being loaded onto the planes, and this alone causes intense suffering. What follows however is even worse: the terror of being in the hold with the racket of the engines, the destabilising roughness of takeoff, flight and landing. And at the end of all this – slaughter, and quite possibly a very brutal one, given that there are no precise laws governing slaughter of animals in Japan, as we understand it from the various associations.
CHDC, The Canadian Horse Defense Coalition organises protests at Calgary airport and puts as much pressure as possible on both the Canadian and Japanese governments, but for now they do not get a proper hearing.
Judith Samson-French, a Canadian veterinary surgeon supporting the Association, has personally reported the brutality of this market, and the suffering it causes these young horses.
Last May, five arrived in Japan having fallen over during the journey. One was dead, the other four physically no longer capable of getting to their feet.
On another occasion, while being loaded at Calgary, one horse was seen to be very clearly lame. It was led back out of the cage, glanced over briefly and then, with no treatment, was reloaded and sent off with the others. Judith Samson-French does not hesitate to report the compliance of her Canadian veterinary colleagues responsible for inspection at loading.
“We feel it is a matter of fundamental principle to make this practice known publicly, because only spreading this knowledge of what is going on can give hope for changing things”, affirms IHP President Sonny Richichi. “Together with Animal Welfare Foundation/Tierschutzbund Zürich, and many other European Associations, we continue to report the systematic abuses in the slaughter of horses in both Canada and in Argentina, both countries responsible for gross mistreatment of the live animals whose meat is then exported to Europe, without being properly checked for drugs, and with a total absence of traceability. The Associations cannot compete on their own with the vast commercial interests involved, they need massive help from public opinion. The reality of what goes on must not just be ignored.”
Canada CBC article
Canada Freshdaily article
VIDEO SHOWING HORSES BEING UNLOADED IN JAPAN
5 CORAZONES, the documentary about the equine slaughter and the export of horse meat in Argentina
Shocking investigation: horse meat import from Australia, severe abuses on horses
Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy, 2019: a slight reduction in numbers, but the precise figures are by no means clear
Tortured horses, meat from North and South America imported to EU, Italy included: investigation in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay (June 2019)
Tortured horses, the videos of the investigation in Canada, Argentina and Uruguay (June 2019)
Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy: 2018 data
Slaughter of horses for human consumption in Italy in 2017: numbers and a few worrying facts
Equine meat and bovine meat: what is the real scandal? (February 2013)
Horse meat in Italy: an investigation reveals that it contains substances dangerous to health (Dec 2011)
Investigation on horse meat entering Europe from America (Dec 2011)