New Barrier at Winnipeg Airport Hides Horses Shipped for Slaughter

The Winnipeg Airport has installed a large new barrier in what appears to be an effort to prevent the public from seeing horses being loaded off trucks and flown to Japan for slaughter. Animal Justice, Manitoba Animal Save, the Winnipeg Humane Society, and other organizations have been on the ground at the airport to document horse shipments, standing on public property and taking photos and videos through a chainlink fence. The footage gathered has shown gentle horses being unloaded by the dozens from large trucks. Some have even shown workers violently prodding the animals with a metal pole jabbed through the openings of trucks.

The photos and videos have been shared widely online, and appeared in TV and other media stories.

But when advocates arrived at the airport the night of Sunday, January 8th, they were surprised to find that a visual barrier had been installed in front of the loading dock, obscuring their view of the horses and making it more difficult to monitor their treatment. Animal Justice contacted the Winnipeg Airport to demand an explanation as to why the barrier has been installed, and the airport refused to explain why it went up.

Barrier installed at Winnipeg Airport where horses are loaded for export.

The live export of horses for slaughter is a heartbreaking and cruel practice that needs to end.

Thousands of live horses are flown from Alberta and Manitoba every year to be killed overseas. During live shipments, horses are packed tightly into tiny wooden crates for trips that can last more than 24 hours. During this time, they are denied the opportunity to eat food, drink water, or rest. The conditions are stressful, dangerous, and sometimes deadly. More than 2,000 horses have been exported from Canada for slaughter since September 2021 alone.

On December 16, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to end the live export of horses for slaughter in a mandate letter, but over a year later, horses are still being flown to their death.

Horses in crates on tarmac before being loaded onto a plane.
Photo: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Recently, Canadian icon Jann Arden initiated a federal Parliamentary e-petition, calling on the Minister to act now to end the live export of horses for slaughter. Ms. Arden has been very vocal about the industry and has helped bring much-needed media attention to the cause through her #HorseShit campaign.

If the government doesn’t make good on its promise, even more horses will be doomed to needlessly suffer and die. It’s time for Minister Bibeau to immediately ban the cruel export of live horses for slaughter.

Banner: Manitoba Animal Save