Media Releases

Photos: One Year After Promised Ban, Horses Still Shipped from Winnipeg to Japan

WINNIPEG—National animal law organization Animal Justice is sounding the alarm after a shipment of over 100 horses was flown out of the Winnipeg airport early Monday morning to Japan. There, the horses will be slaughtered and eaten as raw horse sashimi—a delicacy for the rich. This week marks one full year since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to ban this cruel and unnecessary practice.

“As the Minister’s mandate letter gathers dust, horses continue to suffer and die needlessly,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Winnipeg-based lawyer with Animal Justice. “From the feedlot in Manitoba to the feedlot in Japan, these horses were in transport for more than 24 hours, during which time they were forced to go without food, water, and rest. In fact, given significant flight delays in both Winnipeg and Seattle, it appears that the journey may have taken even more than the legal maximum of 28 hours.  Enough is enough. We need action from the Minister now.”

During the 2021 federal election, the Liberals committed to banning the live export of horses for slaughter. After the election, the Prime Minister followed through on the commitment, including it in the mandate letter for the Minister of Agriculture. Since then, nothing has changed. More than 2,000 horses have been exported from Canada for slaughter since September 2021.

Canadian icon Jann Arden recently launched a Parliamentary e-petition sponsored by NDP MP and Agriculture Critic Alistair MacGregor calling on Minister Bibeau to make good on the government’s commitment.

“Horses have strong fight or flight instincts, panic easily, and have incredibly sensitive hearing,” said Mitchell. “The conditions in which they are shipped overseas are extremely stressful and downright dangerous, putting these gentle horses at risk of illness, injury, and even death during transport. Canadians want to see an end to this inhumane practice once and for all.”

Government data shows that more than 40,000 Canadian horses have been shipped by air overseas for slaughter since 2013.


Photos and videos of horses arriving and being unloaded at the Winnipeg Airport on December 11, 2022, obtained by Manitoba Animal Save, are available here.


Kaitlyn Mitchell
Staff Lawyer
[email protected]