The horse slaughter industry has grown quickly, as a result of the closing of all US plants in 2007. Like Americans, the majority of Canadians do not agree that horses should be slaughtered for human consumption in other countries (64% according to a 2004 national poll). Yet this industry continues to thrive. The US has not yet passed legislation to ban the export of horses for slaughter, despite shutting down all their plants. The number of horses destined to slaughter in the US has not decreased - sadly the horses are now shipped to slaughter to Canada and Mexico. It is an international business that is driven by the demand for horse meat. There is a misconception that slaughter is a solution to an unwanted horse problem. This concept is reinforced by people and businesses that benefit from treating horses as a disposable commodity.
Horses have not traditionally been raised for human consumption in Canada. In our country, horses are considered sport and companion animals. Many Canadians believe that this industry must be abolished on humane grounds. 64% of Canadians do not support it.
• There are now 7 federally licensed horse slaughter plants in Canada (4 more than in 2006).
• Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally.
• The CHDC and has documented evidence of horse neglect and abuse, as well as severe suffering as a result of poor slaughter practices at the Saskatchewan plant (see our website).
• The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding.
• The Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses is not enforced.
• The CFIA has weak rules protecting slaughter bound horses. They can be transported for up to 36 hours and double decker trailers are still allowed.

I'd like to open a discussion on horse slaughter, so people can ask questions and form opinions based on facts. Knowing that people may have strong opinions on this subject, let's remember to stay professional in our responses. Thanks!

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Replies to This Discussion

I do have strong and almost haunting feelings about horse slaughter in Canada or the US or anywhere for that matter. Rumor would have us believe that there really are too many unwanted/neglected horses in the US and Canada. I try to be rational that there are people starving that need help too but my passion is for the horse. There are many organizations assisting needy people. Horses really can not do much to help themselves. We humans have caused this situation but the horses are paying for it. If some horses really need to be put down then euthanize them rather then torture them with the horrific ways they are treated. The holding pens, the auctions, the transport, more holding pens, and then the process of putting them through the de-assembly line...horrible conditions at the plants, horrible treatment going thru the line, horrible means of the actual kill and then some are not even dead before they are strung up to be left kicking and screaming while they hang there until they do actually bleed out. This can't keep happening! This is just WRONG! How can humans be so inhumane? How??
I hate the thought of anyone eating a horse but that is not my biggest problem with this. My thinking is the horse is no longer feeling anything so that part of the picture is just not a priority for me. But I do wonder if there would be as many slaughtered if there wasn't a profit by selling them for meat.
Question: If a horse is euthanized does that make them unusable for human consumption (Oh, that sounds so awful!) Do the drugs in their system make them uneatable. I'm thinking that is maybe why the way they are killed is not being changed to a more humane way.
I do think the horses in the western states of the US are being gathered off free land for no good reason except greed. And if people don't make enough issue of this these horses are going to be slaughtered. As it is, keeping them in small pens with no room to move while they wait is horrible in itself. Concentration camp for horses!!! I have no doubt that there are much better ways to handle this situation. I am convinced the BLM is being influenced by other considerations then what is best for the land or the horses.
What can we do ?
I definitely do not support slaughter of any kind. Animals do not deserve that. That is one of many reasons I am a vegetarian. But if you absolutely can not sell or give away your horse and you can not afford to look after it, then the best way is to put it down humanely. If people did that to their horses who got old even that would cut down at least some of the horses going to slaughter. Or when your horse is badly injured and you can not afford the vet treatments. It is just revolting and I get so angry when I see it.
I sooooo agree with your comment.
There has got to be better ways of handling this..
Greed IS probably the largest factor in this.
More people need to get revolted, and angry and motivated to do more.
While I do not like this pratice, for many people horses are buisness. It costs money to have a vet put a horse down and then what do you do with the body? You have it picked up and it becomes lower grade meat, dog food. So selling live makes more financial sence. Note to the good, I know three people who buy horses on their way to the meat plant, train them and resell them, usually at a loss.
I aggree with you also. I stand as an Anit-Slaughter activist. I support no slaughter of any kind, no matter the population of horse there are out in the states and Canada. No horse deserves to die for food. Would you eat your dog or cat? how about a bunny rabbit or hamster? Of course not! See cows are different, they don't bond like horses do, they don't have feelings like horses do, and most importantly they have been used for meat...FARRRR longer then horses ever were. That is why we understand why cows can be slaughtered and not horses. When you go to a supermarket, do you see "horse meat" in the meat section???? no! these are just a few of the reasons why horses do not deserved to be eaten as meat, or slaughtered! I am however pro-euthanize, as this is a very humane way to end a horses life. This way they cannot be used for human consumtion.
Hey everyone,
While I do NOT support slaughter of any animal, I just wanted to say that even though it is awful and sad, I am okay with there being slaughter houses in Canada as long as the slaughter of horses lasts because of the fact that they could be much worse off. For example, the horses that are sent to Mexico are treated much worse (if you can imagine) than they are in Canada. I for one support the government playing a much bigger role in this industry to ensure that the horses are treated better. I also think that there should be laws like in the UK where "pet" horses are not allowed to be put for human consumption as they have had medications and vaccines.

Just like other animals, even ones that are endangered, there is going to be slaughter so long as there is a demand for the animal and human greed.
I do agree that the gov't needs to be involved as far as there as got to be laws protecting these animals if this process is going to continue. But more then making the laws they have got to start enforcing the laws.
Your last paragraph reminds me of the Florida Pet horse slaughter in Dade County.
Have they had any more recent incidents or any luck finding the low-life that are
responsible?
I would like to see a WORLD WIDE BAN on horse slaughter. Not just here in Canada in the U.S. but all over the world. I do not believe that there are large numbers of wanted and abused horses. The media would like us all to believe that. It is just to keep the industry alive. There are horse farmers who breed horses for slaughter much like other animals, such as cows, turkeys, pigs are bred for slaughter.

Unfortunately, trying to ask Parliament to pass legislation is going to be one tough battle. Especially with a Conservative Government in power. They are pro-industry and with the economy they way it is, it ain't going to happen.

Stopping the supply of horses to slaughter houses might be a start. But if they are bred for slaughter, how do you stop that.

Sadly our own Ontario Equestrian Federation supports the slaughter of horses. I think equestrians across Canada should lobby their own equestrian federations as well as Equine Canada to support the change in legislation. It might help if we as members put the pressure on. After all, they talk about the "Spirit of the Horse", might as well be a live spirit not a dead one.

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