On the heels of a September 15th protest at Calgary Airport, revered Canadian singer, songwriter, broadcaster and author, Jann Arden, is determined to do more. She is an animal lover and would like the Canadian government to show some mercy to horses.
“The United States stopped slaughtering horses in 2006 because the American people spoke out against it!” she exclaims. “Canadians are now DOING THEIR DIRTY WORK. American horses are brought here to be loaded on flights from several Canadian cities.”
On September 29, 2020, another large shipment of slaughter-bound draft horses will be crammed into flimsy wooden crates at the airport and will have to endure a 10-12 hour flight to Japan, where their lives will end after a period of fattening in a crowded feedlot. But that’s not all. Total time without food, water and rest can sometimes exceed 28 hours. First, the horses are loaded into trucks at a Canadian feedlot, then transported to the airport to be forced into crates, where they are often left standing in cramped confinement for 10-12 hours. Then the crates of living cargo are loaded onto the aircraft for the flight and are eventually unloaded at the other end. Food and water will not be offered until the horses arrive in Japan.
Although some horses are bred specifically for human consumption, many others enter the slaughter pipeline from the U.S. and Canada. Horsemeat is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries, where it is served raw as basashi (horse sushi). According to government statistics, 2800 horses left Canada by air cargo in 2019, for slaughter overseas.
Recent documents obtained through Access to Information reveal yet another dead horse on a Korean Air flight as well as four horses weak and lying down. Many of the animals shipped were youngsters, 17 to 18 months old. In addition to these concerns, there were documented issues with broken crates and mistakes made on formwork regarding proper identification of horses.
“We have to ban this sickening practice and end the live export of these majestic animals,” Ms. Arden continues. “They can’t even stand up properly in these crates and are terrified for days on end. Their slaughtering is not regulated by Canadian authorities. These horses meet a horrible end.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s new transport regulations stipulate that the maximum allowable time for horses to be without food, water and rest is now 28 hours (down from 36 hours). However, until February 2022, enforcement will be delivered with a “soft” approach, allowing the possibility of breaches without repercussions. Other protective measures governing equine transport by air, such as adequate headroom and segregation of large horses, were deleted from the new regulations, which came into effect in February 2020. It is interesting to note that the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)’s lawsuit against the CFIA has been ongoing since 2018, and specifically addresses the very headroom and segregation provisions that were removed from the regulations earlier this year.
The protest will take place on September 29, 2020 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The location will be the green space at McKnight Blvd. and McCall Way NE, Calgary. The use of masks and social distancing will be mandatory.