In a new lawsuit, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) alleges that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is breaking its own rules when it comes to transporting horses by air for slaughter.

The not-for-profit Animal Protection group has filed for judicial review in Federal Court. The lawsuit challenges violations of two sections of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) and names the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food as the respondent. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Health of Animals Act and the HAR.

“The law in regard to the live export of horses for slaughter is clear. Sections 141(8) and 142(a) of the Health of Animals Regulations say that horses over 14 hands in height (the size of a large pony) must be segregated, and horses must be able to stand in a natural position. These provisions exist to ensure the humane transport of horses, yet the CFIA consistently violates the law by allowing the overcrowding of horses and by allowing horses’ heads to touch the tops of crates, when live horses are shipped by air cargo to Japan for slaughter,” states the lawyer for the CHDC, Rebeka Breder.

Since 2012, the CHDC has studied conditions under which live horses are exported to Japan for human consumption. Photographic and video evidence has consistently revealed that even large draft horses have been crammed together for export purposes, sometimes as many as three or four per wooden crate, and that the ears of very tall horses have been seen to breach the netting covering the tops of crates. There is also evidence of horses dying and injuring themselves.

“This legal challenge certainly pits David against Goliath,” observes Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of CHDC. “But the CFIA is not above the law. The government has certain legal and ethical obligations, which cannot be swept under the rug.”

The CHDC is accepting donations to help support this legal battle. Click here to donate.

For more information on this practice, click here to read an article from 2015, when the ‘International Animal Lounge YYC’ opened at the Calgary Airport Authority.