Live Horse Exports to Japan on the Rise as Feds Delay Action on Promised Ban

In the last election campaign, the governing Liberals promised to ban the live export of horses for slaughter—a practice widely-condemned for its cruelty. This followed years of advocacy by groups including Animal Justice, the Winnipeg Humane Society, and the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition (“CHDC”), politicians, and celebrities such as Jann Arden.

But despite this promise, so far there has been no action. Horses continue to be shipped out of Canada to Japan to be slaughtered and eaten as raw horse sashimi, with the most recent shipment leaving Winnipeg in the wee hours of March 7, 2022. Animal Justice was also present when horses were exported from Winnipeg on January 31, 2022 and December 7, 2021.  Animal protection advocates in Edmonton report that five flights of horses left Edmonton for Japan in January and February of 2022 alone. 

Not only has the government so far failed to end live export, it’s actually allowing even more horses to be shipped to their deaths. Government data shows that more than 40,000 live horses have been flown to Japan since 2013. Although the number decreased to 1708 in 2020, data from 2021 suggests that the number of live horses being exported for slaughter is on the rise, with at least 1902 shipped to Japan last year.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has refused to meet with Animal Justice, the Winnipeg Humane Society, and the CHDC to discuss the promised ban and when it will be brought into force. In a letter to the CHDC on March 16, 2022, Minister Bibeau stated that the government is in the “early stages” of analyzing its commitment to ban live horse export for slaughter and that it will be consulting with industry on the issue.

Consulting industry alone and closing the door on those advocating for horses impacted by this cruel and unnecessary practice is completely unacceptable.

Continued delay to make good on the government’s commitment will doom more horses to suffer and die needlessly. Transporting horses overseas causes significant suffering due to the fact that the animals are forced to go without food, water, or rest for 24 hours or more, and that horses are particularly prone to injury, stress, and disease during transport. Horses endure this gruelling journey all to be slaughtered to be eaten as a delicacy for the rich. 

Enough is enough. It’s time for Minister Bibeau to follow through on the government’s promise to ban the cruel export of live horses for slaughter. Banning the export of horses for slaughter will also bring our laws in line with Canadian values, with more than two-thirds of people opposed to the cruel practice. 

Please take action today and ask Minister Bibeau to deliver on the government’s promise to end horse exports.

Ask the Federal Government to Ban Live Horse Exports ASAP!

Banner image by: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition