3 Horses Collapse on Live Export Flight

Canada’s export of live horses to slaughterhouses in Japan is a national shame, and an update on a recent flight reveals unlawful transport conditions, highlighting why a ban is so urgently needed.

In mid-December, dozens of horses were packed into crates at the Winnipeg airport and loaded onto a Korean Air flight destined to Japan, where they would be killed and cut up for raw sashimi meat. The horses were juvenilesβ€”they were listed as between 19 months and three years of age.

As revealed by government inspection documents obtained by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, their journey was even more torturous than what horses usually face on this route. The shipping company decided to reroute the plane even though the delay meant the horses would be forced to go without food, water, and rest for at least 30 hours. According to Canadian law, the maximum time horses can be transported without feed, water and rest is 28 hours.

Tragically, at least three horses collapsed on this illegal shipment. Documents reveal that the animals were found downed in their crates. No update was given on whether they recovered. The conditions of the December flight from Winnipeg were stressful, dangerous, and potentially deadly.

Animal Justice tracked the flight back in December when it occurred, and wrote to the CFIA at the time to demand enforcement action to address the unlawfully long journey. The CFIA responded that it did not plan to take action, and shockingly failed to share with us that three horses had actually collapsed due to the poor conditions on the plane. The suffering these horses endured make it even more disappointing that the CFIA refuses to do its job and enforce transport laws.

In the last election campaign, the governing Liberals promised to ban the live export of horses for slaughter. But despite this promise from more than a year ago, so far there has been no action. Thousands of live horses are still being exported from Alberta and Manitoba every year to be slaughtered for food in Japan. 

Continued delay to make good on the government’s commitment will doom more horses to suffer and die needlessly. 

Petition e-4190 is calling on the government to act now to end the live export of horses for slaughter. The deadline for Canadian residents or citizens to sign it is fast approaching. Help us reach 45,000 signatures to make this the largest petition of this parliamentary session. The deadline is the morning of February 7. 

Banner: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition