A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit launched in late 2018 by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), which claimed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was not enforcing regulations surrounding the shipment of live horses overseas for slaughter and human consumption.

There are specific rules around the transport of these horses, including the provisions that any horse over 14 hands high must be segregated during travel and that they must be able to stand in a natural position, without their heads touching the tops of the crates they are shipped in.

The CHDC says these rules are consistently broken, and they wanted the CFIA held responsible. However, after a recent two-day hearing, Judge Keith Boswell decided that the agency has no “public legal duty” to enforce the regulations. He determined that it is up to the owners and those in charge of the shipping crates to ensure the rules are being met. He said that CFIA inspectors should use their own discretion in each circumstance.

The CHDC may appeal the decision, as the not-for-profit group disagrees with the judge’s analysis of the law, according to their lawyer, Rebeka Breder.